Following the Orlando terror attack, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, convinced that the attack wouldn’t have occurred if only we had sufficient gun regulations, decided to demonstrate how easy it would to obtain an AR-15 in Illinois. [This was already a bad start to his investigative reporting, since Steinberg didn’t investigate the gun used in Orlando: it wasn’t an AR-15. Then again, since anti-gun zealots don’t care about such details (“All guns BAD”) and low-information citizens still trust the news media not to misinform them, this didn’t matter to the reporter. But I digress…)
A background check was triggered by Steinberg’s application for the weapon, and he was rejected. It seems the reporter had an “admitted history of alcohol abuse,” and there was a charge for domestic battery on his record.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Children: here is the meaning of “to be hoisted by your own petard.” Say thank you to Mr. Steinberg!
Then the owner of the store decided to publicize the gotcha! by sending the account of the failed purchase to a rival newspaper. This forced Steinberg into writing a column about the event (although I’m sure he would say that he is so brimming with integrity that he would have written one anyway, and maybe that would be true, but I am as inclined to believe that he typed his column with his nose) which also meant outing himself as an accused spouse abuser and a periodic drunk. Still, Steinberg decided not to allow this experience to teach him anything about the problems with background checks, or about being denied basic rights because of a disability (alcoholism) or being denied a civil right because he was merely accused of a crime without being convicted (the wife-beating charge). In his column, Steinberg’s spin is that Maxon Shooter’s Supplies, in Des Plaines, Illinois., rejected his application only because he’s in the media.
He doesn’t connect the dots here, either. Why is a member of the media, which I would suspect of being inherently untrustworthy, more worthy of exercising his Second Amendment rights than a “suspected terrorist’? Both are innocent in the eyes of the law. Both are law-abiding citizens who may say or write something that could get them put on a list. The difference is that another Bill of Rights tenet, the First Amendment, protects Steinberg from any government sanctions should he write in a column that he hopes someone takes an AR-15 to the Republican House.
The owner of the gun store says that Steinberg’s suspicious status as a lefty journalist notwithstanding, his history of alcohol abuse and domestic violence raised sufficient red flags for a responsible owner to refuse to sell him a gun. Apparently no penalty will be levied on the owner for revealing the results of the check to the world at large. That also seems ominous. What stops a gun store owner from getting a gun applicant fired from his job, or just publicly embarrassed for private information that blocks a gun purchase?
I told you this was a great story.
Wait, what’s this? Not a single mainstream media news source thinks it’s a great story? Only conservative new organizations are reporting it?
What possible explanation is there for that?
It’s a mystery!
Pointer: Tim Levier