Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and President Joe Biden both watched in horror as a mass shooting left seven people dead and wounded dozens more at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park. But their responses in the hours after the July 4 massacre were diametrically different, reflecting not just a divergence in temperaments but of their political approaches to the issue of gun violence in America.
Whereas Pritzker demanded that people make politics of the moment — as grisly as it may be — the president initially made just passing reference to the shooting. Later, on the South Lawn, he said America has “more work to do” and called for a moment of silence.
Bill O'Reilly, late of Fox News, was irate at Governor Pritzker, clearly more serious about gun violence than is the President. On July 6 O'Reilly would whine
here's a guy who wants to ban guns or all that other stuff- take them away from law-abiding people in Illinois. That's what he wants to do. He was elected governor in January 2019, too office in January, 2019, O.K. Since that time- since that time- there have been approximately 3500 murders in Illinois.
Everytown for Gun Safety analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control from 2020 in which the agency compared the prevalence of 50 gun control laws in each state to that state's rate of death by firearm. As noted by CNN, the report
put California at the top of the list for gun law strength -- a composite score of 84.5 out of 100, with a low rate of 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 residents, and below the national average of 13.6. Hawaii has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country with the second strongest gun law score. It also has the lowest rate of gun ownership, with firearms in 9% of households, the data shows.
Illinois has had strong gun laws with an average rate of gun deaths, those boosted by the considerable firearm violence in Chicago. Yet in 2017, local journalists were told by police and researchers that most of the guns confiscated by police in the city came from Indiana, a state with relatively lax gun laws and a relatively high rate of gun violence. It's a common pattern.
It's uncertain what especially angered O'Reilly about Pritzker. It might have been the governor's specific reference to mass shootings or the governor's declaration "If you are angry today, I’m here to tell you to be angry. I’m furious. I’m furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence." Obviously, he never recommended we "ban all guns (or) take them away from law-abiding people in Illinois."
Perhaps instead it was Pritzker's remark that
There are going to be people who say that today is not the day, that now is not the time, to talk about guns. I’m telling you there is no better day and no better time than right here and right now.
"I’m telling you there is no better day and no better time than right here and right now," Pritzker declared. If President Biden had the same fire in the belly, Bill O'Reilly and his fellow travelers would have more to fear than they do now.
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