Police chiefs weigh in on gun control battle

Joining key figures such as Attorney General Eric Holder and television commentator Al Sharpton in support of President Barack Obama’s call for tougher gun control legislation at the Old Executive Office Building Wednesday were the players the administration seems to be counting on a lot in the coming battle in Congress: chiefs of police.

From small towns to major cities such as New York and Philadelphia, many of America’s “top cops” were a presence at Wednesday’s session. Two of them spoke to Human Events and made it clear they were going to be on the Obama team in the gun control fight.

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“We need universal background checks and we’ve got to come to grips with this thing called the Internet,” said Charles Ramsey, police commissioner of Philadelphia and past police chief of Washington D.C. “It’s not enough when you allow the kind of loopholes we have (to purchase weapons and ammunition online).” Without greater regulation of the Internet, Ramsey added, tougher gun control “is hopeless. Nothing’s going to change.”

When Human Events reminded Ramsey that his predecessor, 1960’s Police Commissioner (and later two-term Philadelphia Mayor) Frank Rizzo, used to say that the most effective law enforcement was done at the local level, the present Philly commissioner replied: “That’s right. But the steps that are taken by the federal, state, and local officials must be translated into action at the local level.”

Ray Kelly, now the longest-serving New York City police commissioner after 13 years, told us that he did speak to Vice President Joe Biden’s staff on a variety of points and said a “comprehensive national strategy” was needed for stronger gun control in the U.S.

“You can have strong laws in one state, such as we have in New York, where we confiscated 90 percent of the weapons that came into our state from other states,” Kelly said, “but you also need the national laws as well.” He added that he specifically agreed with the resident on a universal background check for gun owners, a ban on assault weapons, and stronger measures to limit gun trafficking.