Last year, the city of Chicago suffered with more than 500 homicides, despite having some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Here we are just 30 days into 2013 and at least 40 are already dead in the Windy City.
For anyone who can connect the dots, it seems that stricter gun control laws do little (if anything) to prevent gun violence. Why then are Congress and the Obama administration following Chicago’s example?
Think I’m just a right-wing nut-job clinging to my guns? Even the New York Times is starting to connect the dots…
Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed. Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public.
And yet Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, finds itself laboring to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, including a fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old girl was Hadiya Pendleton. Last week she was in Washington, D.C. to celebrate President Obama’s second inauguration; this week, she was gunned down in the South Side’s Kenwood neighborhood — less than a mile from Obama’s home. She was shot in the back at a neighborhood park in the middle of the afternoon.
But instead of noting how such strict gun controls do nothing to protect the lives of kids like Pendleton, the Times suggests the answer may be to crack down on other states‘ gun laws.
More than a quarter of the firearms seized on the streets here by the Chicago Police Department over the past five years were bought just outside city limits in Cook County suburbs, according to an analysis by the University of Chicago Crime Lab. Others came from stores around Illinois and from other states, like Indiana, less than an hour’s drive away. Since 2008, more than 1,300 of the confiscated guns, the analysis showed, were bought from just one store, Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale, Ill., within a few miles of Chicago’s city limits.
Efforts to compare the strictness of gun laws and the level of violence across major American cities are fraught with contradiction and complication, not least because of varying degrees of coordination between local and state laws and differing levels of enforcement. In New York City, where homicides and shootings have decreased, the gun laws are generally seen as at least as strict as Chicago’s, and the state laws in New York and many of its neighboring states are viewed as still tougher than those in and around Illinois. Philadelphia, like cities in many states, is limited in writing gun measures that go beyond those set by Pennsylvania law. Some city officials there have chafed under what they see as relatively lax state controls.
And thus the problem with liberals’ crime prevention plans emerges: Unless you’re going to ban all guns everywhere, there will always be access and bad guys will always exploit it. The Chicago police traced the origins of more than half of the guns seized since 2001. The guns whose origins were identified came from all 50 states and from more than 60% of the nation’s counties.
While some guns confiscated at Chicago crime scenes came from neighboring cities and states, others came from much further away. According to this study, more guns seized by the Chicago PD came from Mississippi (4,296) than from nearby Wisconsin (1,647). Liberal logic would suggest that the state of Mississippi needs to ban guns to help control crime in Chicago. How do you accomplish this?
Dianne Feinstein is working on it in Washington.