On gun control, Mr. President, keep our city’s name out of your mouth

On gun control, Mr. President, keep our city’s name out of your mouth

President Donald Trump gestures during a joint news conference with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Nov. 7, 2017. (JIM WATSON / AFP/Getty Images)

Rex HuppkeContact Reporter

Asked how America should reckon with its most recent massacre-by-gun, President Donald Trump responded Tuesday with his favorite, National Rifle Association-approved trope: Chicago.

The question posed during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, involved the possibility of “extreme vetting” for people who want to buy guns.

“Look at the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation — Chicago,” Trump said. “Chicago is a disaster, a total disaster.”

With all due respect, let me say this: Mr. President, keep the name of our city out of your lie-spewing mouth.

Chicago does not have the “strongest gun laws in our nation.” That’s lie. It’s not a “misstatement” or a “falsehood.” It’s a flat-out lie, and a cynical one at that, because it’s using the tragic — and, yes, disastrous — number of homicides in Chicago as a cudgel to knock down any talk of sensible gun-law reform.

Trump doesn’t care about the daily carnage on our city’s streets. Remember during the campaign, when he pledged he would solve everything, when he hinted of some magical police officer here who told him he knew just what to do to solve Chicago’s decadeslong violence problems?

There’s no magical police officer. Trump has done nothing. Trump will do nothing. People here are not his voters, they are merely human cover in his effort to shield America’s gun cult from reality.

And that reality is this: We have 26 people — children, a pregnant woman, a pastor’s daughter — shot dead in a church in Texas by a man who had no business owning any firearms, much less one capable of destroying so many lives so quickly.

That reality is what should be addressed. The Air Force failed to enter the shooter’s past domestic violence conviction into the National Criminal Information Center database, so he managed to pass background checks when he bought his guns.

A president who gives a damn might answer a question at a news conference by saying we absolutely can i order flagyl online need to investigate this failure and make sure our system of federal background checks on gun buyers is as close to flawless as it can be.

Instead, Trump belted out every line in the NRA playbook: He suggested it was too soon to be talking about such things as gun control; he brought up Chicago to suggest that gun laws don’t do any good anyway (this overlooks the well-established fact that most of the guns coming into Chicago are purchased in states with lax gun laws); and he cited the Texas man who got his own gun and fired on the shooter, saying that if that man “didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead.”

It’s the good-guy-with-a-gun line. Undoubtedly, that man who went after the shooter is a hero. But are we supposed to be OK with 26 people killed before the good-guy-with-a-gun savior arrives? (Also, no one is talking about keeping guns out of the hands of good people with clean records.)

As far as the “hundreds more dead” goes, Trump has no idea what he’s talking about. He’s just pulling words out of thin air to gin up a hypothetical that honors the almighty gun.

To summarize, the president of the United States responded to a reasonable question about what we should do to keep a tragedy like the one in Texas from repeating by: lying about the laws in a major American city; describing that same major American city as “a disaster,” something I’m sure local businesses and tourism officials were delighted to hear; and fabricating a scenario in which, had it not been for that lone hero with a gun, the Texas gunman would’ve gone on to slaughter hundreds more.

That isn’t leadership. It’s deception, evasion and cowardice. It’s fiction, and it’s an insult to this great city, which struggles daily with gun violence and needs sensible and compassionate help from the man who so boldly claimed he knows a Chicago cop who can fix everything.

We’ll await your assistance, President Trump. Until then, kindly keep the name of our city out of your mouth.


Twitter @RexHuppke