Editor, Commonwealth:

I know there’s a mediawide rush to attack the concept of legal gun ownership, but your “Delta Pipeline” expose Saturday really stretched it.

I had to go to the actual Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting report to see it for myself.

For starters, the only Delta towns cited in the “study” were Clarksdale and Greenwood. Clarksdale contributed 92 guns to the Chicago underworld while Greenwood contributed a whopping 79.

Other cities cited include: Gulfport (431), Hattiesburg (145), Flowood (88), Ridgeland (148), Jackson (782), Columbus (281), Southaven (170) and Corinth (230).

Of course, Illinois, a state with “good” gun laws, contributed 6,026 guns — the No. 1 state in the “pipeline.” Perhaps that should read “intrastate pipeline.”

The explanation of the report becomes clearer when you read the actual title: “Dixie Pipeline: Guns Bought in Mississippi Often Reach Chicago Streets.”

I get the drift. Because of Mississippi’s “loose” gun laws, criminals in Chicago have a steady pipeline of guns. Well, 5% actually if you want to nitpick.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed in an effort to penalize the illegal transfer of weapons. It applies to licensed gun dealers and, more importantly, to private sellers.

Gun sales or transfers to convicted felons, the mentally unbalanced and those who live in another state are forbidden.

In addition, since 1975, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has required licensed dealers to report the sale or transfer of more than one handgun to an individual within a five-day period. This is intended to stop the “pipeline.”

There appears to be ample proof that Jonathan Smalley was known by ATF for some time. Certainly one would think that once his guns started showing up at Chicago crime scenes, the ATF would move.

Smalley purchased 32 weapons from May 2008 to May 2016. One would think ATF would have paid him a visit.

Each violation carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, and yet Smalley received only 5½ years. What a pathetic joke.

I only wish that President Trump and the Republican-led Congress would have made street crime ATF’s No. 1 focus. That opportunity is now lost with the Democratic horde that promises to make law-abiding gun owners pay later this month.

Now that the “Center” has broken new ground flexing its “independence” with the Commonwealth, I’m looking forward to Planned Parenthood and the Americans for Civil Liberties doing the same.

Bob Darden


Editor’s note: The headline the Commonwealth published should have said “Dixie Pipeline.” Substituting the word “Delta” for “Dixie” was an error.

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