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CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago continues to push his anti-gun agenda — and the National Rifle Association is hitting back.
"I really believe people in Chicago want the best for the city," he remarked, "and if I can be a part of stirring up a greater sense of ownership for the issues that are there, so that we can join hands and get something significant done, then I'm happy to do that and I invite others as well to speak out as well."
He's calling on the faithful to contacted elected officials and insist on gun reform. He also referred to guns as "combat weapons."
"There really is no reason why we need these combat weapons on our streets," Abp. Cupich insisted, "and so my hope would be that legislators would take seriously the danger that is inflicted on our neighborhoods but also the will of the people who really see this as a sensible way to move forward."
This isn't the first time His Excellency has led his flock on an anti-gun crusade. Back in October 2015, he penned an editorial piece for the Chicago Tribune where he openly spoke against the relevance of the Second Amendment.
"Let's be honest. The Second Amendment was passed in an era when organized police forces were few and citizen militias were useful in maintaining the peace," he argued.
He also applauded the city of Chicago's tough gun laws. "Recently, the city of Chicago adopted a tough ordinance to tightly regulate gun stores here. I applaud Chicago's leadership for taking this important step to protect our children and families."
Chicago's murder rates since 2015 have soared exponentially. From January to the end of March last year, shooting victim numbers were at 359 people. This year, in the same January to March period, after passage of multiple gun laws, the shooting victims almost doubled, to 677.
Church Militant contacted the Illinois State Rifle Association for a statement and conducted a brief interview with Richard Pearson, executive director of the association and NRA nominating commitee member.
Pearson said the gun laws in Chicago are ineffective because of what he called "the Ferguson effect."
"What happens is, we have the Ferguson effect in Chicago, so a lot of the police are not enforcing the laws enthusiastically because they are afraid of what will happen to them," he explained.
Pearson also rejected the idea that gun laws passed in Illinois are actually protectingcitizens. Rather, he clamims they are enabling criminals.
"The people who want to own firearms legally do have a difficult time in Chicago," he said, "however the people who want to have firearms illegally and want to use them for crime — that just helps them, because they know less and less potential victims will be armed."
Referencing a recent event in Chicago where a man fatally stabbed a woman on a CTA train, Pearson highlighted the need for guns for self-defense.
The victim "didn't have a chance to protect herself on a CTA train and nobody can get to her to help her," he commented. "The only person who can prevent that crime is the potential victim. The only person there is the victim, and the perpetrator."
Richard also argued that simply letting the police handle gun violence isn't effective. "The problem is that all of this happens in 15 seconds," he explained. "Nobody can get there even if you had a policeman on the other end of the CTA car. He couldn't have gotten to this woman probably fast enough."