Chicago is the best place to study gun issues
Every scientist looks for the best place to study his targeted phenomenon - tornadoes in the Mid-West, hurricanes in the Caribbean, ice thinning in the Artic or thickening in the Antarctic. For gun issues this would be Chicago because it is the murder capital of the United States and the handgun is the favored killing instrument and apparently readily available. Easy conclusion, more guns more crime or killing. Right?
The Windy City was the only city in the United States to exceed 500 homicides in 2012 - in the same year, fewer American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Over the Independence Day holiday, 82 persons in Chicago were shot. According to America's 1st Freedom magazine, a publication by the
Chicago is a war zone. Police Chief Superintendent Garry McCarthy boasted, “We seize more guns than any city in the country, every single year.” Fewer guns, less crime, right? So why the continual rise in crime and murder at the same time more guns are seized? Is it because of those nasty gun shows?
A recent study published in the journal, Preventive Medicine, by Philip J. Cook, Susan T. Parker and Harold A. Pollack, reveals otherwise. In anonymous, face-to-face interviews, 100 felons were asked where they had obtained their guns; a question never asked by proponents of more gun laws. Asking criminals this question should occur before designing legislation to disarm potential victims, one would think. The study revealed that “few got their guns from Internet sources, gun shows or licensed stores.” Most got them, instead, from “family, fellow gang members or associates,” the study also reported, adding that few stole them and “they seldom bought guns on the used market.” The interviews revealed also that most of the weapons were handguns. Very few possessed so-called “assault weapons.”
President Obama set anti-gun example for Chicago
A second reason to study guns in Chicago might be that this city is also the home of the most anti-gun president in our history. When Barack Obama ran for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, he was asked if he supported legislation to “ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” He answered “yes.” As a U.S. Senator, Obama once said, “While a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable, I believe reasonable restrictions on the sale and possession of handguns are necessary to protect the public safety” (“Obama Ramping Up the Rhetoric on Gun Control,” The New American, Oct. 5, 2015).
Obviously his anti-gun philosophy has been in place in the Chicago area, with a measure of his influence, for many years. That his philosophy has clearly failed, where it had the greatest power to succeed, is now indisputable. Evidence of this conclusion is seen in the body count on Chicago streets every day.
With respect to the president's safety, if fewer guns mean less crime and violence, then why do all the agents around the president carry handguns? He knows that his protection is more secure with more guns. Then why would this not also be true for his law-abiding constituents? If the president had been more observant of his own city, he might have noticed the real problem besetting Chicago - the lack of enforcement of existing gun laws. America's 1st Freedom magazine, previously cited, disclosed the following information: Between January 2006 and August 2013 in Cook County (which includes Chicago), “more than 13,000 cases that included gun violation [were] thrown out of court or dismissed.” In fact, the magazine states, “from illegal firearm possession to illegal sale of a firearm to a felon, more felony cases involving guns were thrown out of court there than any other kind of case.”
Chicago has gun laws, but low prosecution rate
This reality can be seen on the federal level as well. According to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearing House, “out of 90 federal judicial districts in the United States, Chicago in recent years has ranked near the bottom in terms of gun prosecutions. In 2014, it ranked 82nd out of 90 districts.”
But leniency everywhere is typical of the Obama administration. In 2011, “federal gun prosecutions dropped by roughly 40 percent,” the Syracuse report states. Only about 1 percent of the guns seized by Chicago police led to federal prosecutions. Moreover, those prosecuted rarely got more than one year of a possible three-year sentence. Without a will to enforce existing laws, there exists no valid logic in creating more.
Perhaps the real solution to Chicago's war-zone status is more guns in the hands of its lawful citizens - as the U.S. Constitution allows - not less. The Second Amendment offers some of the strongest and clearest language on the subject. “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This language has never been altered by another amendment and thus remains the law of the land, whether the government of Chicago and its lead citizen, the president, understands it or not.
Dr. Pease is a specialist on the United States Constitution and its application to current events. He has taught history and political science for more than 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, go to libertyunderfire.org.
(Posted 4/8/16; Opinion: General)
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