Father Pfleger’s Selective Reasoning

Gun Rights

Close observers of gun politics might be surprised to learn that decades-long Chicago gun control advocate and Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger is in fact capable of some logic.

An Agence France-Press piece ​on the continuing violence in Chicago amidst the COVID-19 lockdown shared Pfleger’s thoughts on the Windy City’s crime problem. Eschewing the notion that the ongoing lockdown could have ever stemmed the violence, AFP reported,”Pfleger argued that someone who was prepared to commit murder was unlikely to be too bothered about observing a stay-at-home order.”

Pfleger’s key insight will be familiar to gun rights supporters. Second Amendment activists have long understood that gun laws do not stop violent criminals. Simple logic dictates that an individual willing to commit criminal violence will give little thought to violating gun control laws. In bumpersticker form, this reads: When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. 

Despite Illinois’s stringent gun control laws, Chicago criminals have little trouble securing firearms. A 2015 study published in Preventative Medicine titled, “Sources of guns to dangerous people: What we learn by asking them​,” queried inmates in the Cook County Jail about where they obtained firearms. The overwhelming source was “family, fellow gang members, or other social connections​.” Discussing the efficacy of Illinois’s firearms licensing system, an inmate opined, “All they need is one person who got a gun card in the ‘hood’and everybody got one.”​In fact, the authorities can’t even keep guns out of the Cook County jail.

It’s unfortunate that this simple deduction only came to Pfleger in his 70s, as it might have spared Chicagoans some of the priest’s more inane antics.

In 2007, Pfleger teamed up with social justice gadfly Jesse Jackson to protest a gun store in the Chicago suburb of Riverdale for having the temerity to sell guns to those who had already complied with Illinois’s onerous licensing procedure. Pfleger and Jackson were arrested after trespassing on the gun store’s property. Seeming to set aside the sixth commandment, during the incident the priest said about the gun store owner, “We’re going to find you and snuff you out.”

Following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the handgun prohibitionist joined then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevitch (a one-time Firearm Owner’s Identification card holder) to condemn the ruling.

Pfleger’s anti-gun foolery seems to be too much even for his Chicago comrade Barack Obama. In 2016, then-President Obama held a CNN “town hall” on guns. During the contrived presentation, Pfleger asked Obama why the federal government won’t institute full firearms registration. Obama shot down the priest’s tired proposal, stating, “Issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it. And part of it is, is people’s concern that that becomes a prelude to taking people’s guns away.​”

Now that Pfleger has demonstrated a rudimentary understanding of the criminal mind and a capacity for reason, one would hope the priest could apply this basic knowledge to his activism. Don’t hold your breath.

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