Following a string of shootings across the country over the last six months there has been a heightened call at the federal and state level for increased gun control. After a month-long White House task force investigation led by the vice president, President Barack Obama announced earlier this month his proposals for a wide-range of new gun control measures, in addition to signing 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence.
The National Rifle Association has come out strongly along with other gun advocates against these new proposals, which they argue would be ineffective at curbing gun-violence and violate the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Advocates and opponents to new gun control legislation, including former Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, came before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.
The hearings featured heated rhetoric and clashes between witnesses and Senate members, giving evidence that the opposing sides on this issue still find themselves far apart.
The issue of gun violence hits close to home for the president, as his adopted hometown of Chicago saw an unprecedented level of violence and crime over the last year despite having some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Chicago was on pace to have more homicides than U.S. troop killings in Afghanistan earlier this year. By the end of 2012, the Windy City suffered more than 500 homicides, and have already had 40 through the first 30 days of 2013. Just this past Tuesday Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who attended the president’s inauguration, was fatally shot less than a mile from her home.
This continued violence in Chicago raises questions about the president’s recent calls for increases on gun control regulations and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Chicago has had assault weapons and high-capacity magazines banned for years, and the city has outlawed gun shops. Despite this, 2012 saw a 28 percent spike in the city’s homicide total compared to 2011.
On ‘Real News‘ Thursday the panel was joined by Chicago conservative talk radio host Charles Butler to discuss the violence in the Windy City, and why city officials’ approach to gun control is not curbing crime.