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Less than two weeks after the deadly El Paso and Dayton shootings, a Philadelphia man opened fire on six police officers before finally surrendering.  A gun was involved? Guess whose fault this really was.

Amazingly, no one was killed during the hours-long gun battle on August 14th, and the shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, was arraigned August 17th   on attempted murder along with a raft of additional charges including aggravated assault, assault on law enforcement officers, reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint, weapons charges, and drug charges.

 

While this story garnered national attention, it has not generated quite the same amount of outrage as the other tragedies.  It’s fairly obvious why.

  1. No one died (thank God).
  2. The shooter was black, so Donald Trump can’t be blamed.
  3. His intended victims were police officers.

Still, activists continue to demand “something” be done about gun violence. We need “common sense” legislation. We’ve got to ban certain kinds of guns or rifles. We’ve got to make it harder for people to buy firearms. We need “comprehensive” background checks. We must ban the sale of high capacity magazines.

 

The awful reality for all of those clamoring for more laws and regulations is that not a single proposed law or regulation would have prevented this man from carrying out his attack. This man was a C.R.I.M.I.N.A.L.

 

He has been breaking the law for decades. If you have the time or inclination, here’s his full 17-page state criminal history.

Per NBC Philadelphia, Hill was first arrested as an 18-year-old in 2001 for illegally possessing a gun with an altered serial number, court records show. He was found guilty on five counts related to that arrest.

In 2002 he was arrested yet again and eventually pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy.

Hill would continue to be arrested over the years, with his crimes escalating in severity. In 2008, he was convicted of resisting arrest, criminal trespass and fleeing from police. Three years later, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and most recently was found guilty of perjury, in 2013.

Federal court records indicate he was convicted in 2010 of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to four years and seven months in prison, plus three years of supervised release.

 

Let’s just review that again. As a felon, he was legally barred from possessing a firearm. That seems like “common sense” gun regulation, right?  Yet surprise, surprise, a silly thing like a LAW didn’t stop Hill from getting his hands on multiple firearms, and continually breaking multiple laws.

Even Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is quoted as saying, “I think it’s clear this man should not have been on the streets. He was a felon before he was handling this weapon.”

 

Gee, duh. Ya THINK?

 

And why was this man still on the streets, still dealing drugs and shooting at police officers? Because apparently, only a minority of charges against Hill actually resulted in convictions.

Of course, that didn’t stop Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney from blaming the NRA for the incident.

 

Per CBS Philly he said, “Our officers need help. They need help with gun control. They need help with keeping these weapons out of these people’s hands.

“This government, both on federal and state level, don’t want to do anything about getting these guns off the streets and getting them out of the hands of criminals. This guy is clearly a criminal, he was a criminal…but has been involved in the criminal justice system before. And he was able to get these weapons and a large magazine, a large amount of bullets.

…It’s aggravating, it’s saddening and it’s just something we need to do something about. And if the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us police ourselves. But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation.”

But Mr. Mayor, as you say, this guy was a criminal! As your own District Attorney said, he should never have been on the streets.

How the hell is this the NRA’s fault?

What good is more and more laws if criminals, by definition, don’t abide by them? How can we keep our streets safe if prosecutors are unable to get convictions?

But it is important to keep all of this in perspective. While the media would have you believe gun violence is at an all-time high (due of course to the NRA and President Trump’s hateful rhetoric), the gun murder rates in the U.S. are actually LOWER than they were in the mid-1970’s. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 4.6 gun murders per 100,000 people in the US in 2017, much lower than the 7.2 per 100,000 in 1974.

And the percentage of households owning guns in the US from the 70’s to today is virtually unchanged.

 

Fewer murders per capita, the same percentage of gun ownership. Interesting how these statistics never seem to be quoted.

 

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