Chicago, one of the cities with the strictest and most evasive gun restrictions in the United States, just had 57 murders in the month of August… Just as shocking, more people have been killed by guns in Chicago thus far in 2012 than troops have been killed in Afghanistan over the same time period. For 28 years handguns were outright banned in the city altogether, until the end of 2010 when the measure was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. And yes, crime was even higher then!
Since the outright ban was struck down by the high court, the city has remained vigilant in reworking the laws so that it is possible, but extremely expensive and difficult, to obtain a license. Even with the court’s decision, the fact remains that Chicago still has one of the toughest municipal gun laws in the country. This while Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has cut neighborhood targeted anti-violence programs by upwards of $9 million due to budget shortfalls. Yet, at the same time, he’s out grandstanding publicly for even stricter gun laws. So let me get this straight? They do away with the education proponent, do away with the support within the poorest of neighborhoods, while pounding their fists on the table in hopes that another law will be the cure?
Chicago’s current murder rates continue to be extremely high. How did that 28-year handgun ban work? Police reported confiscating an average of about 10,000 guns per year. As I said earlier, the yearly murder-rate while handguns were banned outright was even HIGHER than it is currently, while handguns continue being heavily restricted. In the final year before the ban fell, more police officers were killed in Chicago by gunfire than in any other city in the nation. The city also maintained one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. Yikes.
What’s the lesson here? That actual criminals don’t stop using something just because it’s “banned.” That actual criminals don’t stop partaking in certain behaviors just because the sources for such behaviors are “banned.” This gun ban doesn’t affect a legitimate criminal. Let’s be honest. It actually serves to embolden them, now knowing that they’re far less likely to ever encounter an armed victim! The ban does affect some people however… It affects the law-abiding citizens who are no longer able to legally protect themselves from the criminals that will opt to carry a gun and murder you regardless.
Just like with the banning of alcohol, drugs, dogs… It serves to create a hyper-vacuum of criminality, a fear-based irrationalism, and an underground market of access, while those causing no harm to anyone are the ones who are consistently punished. First, by the insistence that they cannot “have” or “do” something on its face, but then by the system itself, as it uses the innocent happenings that will inevitably occur (someone having a firearm at home in order to protect their family, drinking a beer, smoking some pot, having a friendly dog of a certain breed or type) as examples and then throws the book at you for the warped publicity. Are the violent criminals ever targeted? Were the organized and bootlegging criminals ever targeted? Are the drug kingpins and pushers of narcotics into cities ever targeted? Are the dog fighters and animal abusers who exploit Pit Bulls and other types ever targeted? Rarely.
Unfortunately the focus is rarely on actions, or on the people who choose to partake in the actions that we’ve all deemed to be abhorrent. It’s far easier to just grandstand and ban things with a magic wand. Violate rights. Ignore root causes. Talk out of your ass. And while letting the real perpetrators of the crimes alone, to continue violating the now “new rules” that have been established, because after all, they don’t follow rules to begin with.