Kill the Chicago Myth

I’m already seeing the gun nuts trot out the old myth that Chicago has the nation’s strictest gun control laws and the highest rates of gun violence. Neither statement is true.

Chicago used to have stricter gun control laws, but its 1982 ban on handguns was struck down by the courts in 2010. Illinois’s concealed carry ban was struck down two years later, and this applied to Chicago as well. Now its gun control laws are pretty standard, for the U.S.

See also Dahleen Glanton in the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago does not have the strictest gun laws in the country. It’s time for gun lovers to stop spreading that lie.

A decade ago that was indeed a title Chicago wore proudly. We were the only major city that still had an ordinance banning residents from keeping a handgun in their home.

The handgun ban made us the primary target of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, and in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court forced Chicago to fall into line with the rest of the country.

Since then, the courts have peeled off so many layers of our once stellar gun ordinance that it’s barely recognizable. We’re still maneuvering to keep gun stores and shooting ranges from opening in the city limits. But the courts have ruled against us on that, too, so we know it’s just a matter of time.

So much for the nation’s strictest gun control laws (I believe that honor actually goes to New York City, which also has a much lower rate of gun violence than most other U.S. major cities).

But what about Chicago’s awful gun violence rate? Chicago has a lot of gun violence, that’s true. And if you look at raw numbers, Chicago does have more shooting victims than other cities. But Chicago also has more people than most other cities. When you look at the data adjusted for population — killings per 100,000 residents — a different story unfolds, and Chicago falls way down the list. For many years the honor of most gun killings per capita has been held by New Orleans. I understand St. Louis is currently #2, having overtaken Detroit in recent years. Then we’ve got Baltimore, Oakland, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Memphis, Buffalo, District of Columbia, Stockton, Miami, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. Then comes Chicago. New York — you know, the place that really does have tough gun control laws — isn’t in the top 20 at all.

So please, people, every time you see somebody spread the lie about Chicago gun laws and gun violence, set them straight. Thanks much.

4 thoughts on “Kill the Chicago Myth

  1. Even when Chicago had decent gun laws, it was undercut by this situation:

    Top 10 sources of Chicago’s crime guns traced to suburban shops

    "Illinois can and must do better to reduce the flow of guns from in-state FFL dealers,” the report says. "But even with this necessary step forward to regulate in-state firearm sales, Chicago remains uniquely vulnerable to interstate firearms trafficking due to surrounding states with weak regulations over the primary and secondary gun sale markets, including Indiana, Wisconsin, and Kentucky."

    Over the years community leaders have petitioned the city council and state legislature to enact laws that would restrict these shops and require them to enact some methods of enforcement that would stanch the flow of these “crime guns” into the city. The NRA and their paid off republican stooges have been present every step of the way to make sure nothing gets in the way of these shops ability to continue to profit from death and destruction.

    This propensity to tell this lie is, as Gulag said, a slap at Obama, but also has its roots in the racist bugaboo about blacks and violence.

  2. In the current case, I'm more concerned that the Right/NRA will push the idea that we should regulate mental illness, not guns.  The fact that the crazy bastard responsible for Parkland murders was reported to the FBI will be used to undermine both the FBI and new attempts at gun control.

    NPR interviewed some right-wing word-whore today, and he said that gun violence in general has declined in the last few decades, even though mass shootings have gone (way) up.  If true, that actually supports the idea that large magazine semi-automatics are really the problem. 

Comments are closed.