The Strange Yin Yang Of The Chicago Gun Life
The Windy City, long seen as America's Midwest metropolis, has a strange love-hate relationship with guns. They have some of the country's most strict gun laws, yet they suffer increasingly high levels of gun violence. This leads some to believe that gun control does not mean a safer population.
Gun Violence Epidemic
Even while the rates of people killed by guns in such large cities as Los Angeles and New York have been falling like a stone for a decade, Chicago is suffering. In 2012, guns in Chicago killed some 506 people. Gang activity, restless underemployed youth in a drug culture, and an ever-desensitized criminal element is seen as a driving force in this epidemic.
According to the Chicago Reporter "From 2008 through 2012, nearly half of Chicago's 2,389 homicide victims were killed before their 25th birthdays." In fact, comparing Chicago's 2012 death toll to the US nationwide statistics for gun crime, nearly one in twenty gun deaths happen in the Windy City.
Lets compare that. New York, a city of some 8.24-million, recorded 515 homicides in 2011, Chicago, with less than three million, beat that. In 2011, Texas' population where gun laws are slightly less strict, saw a total of 699 gun murders for its 25.6 million people-- an area with eight times Chicago's population.
Strict Laws Do Not Seem to Help
In a gradual series of steps over the past several decades, the city has stamped out legitimate gun ownership. Shooting ranges in the city limits are illegal. Chicago had a total ban on legal handgun possession, even by lawful residents in their home, from 1982-2010. Shotguns and rifles could be had, but must be registered with the Chicago Police Department. Residents must complete a firearm safety course, pass a background check including fingerprinting, and pay a $100 permit fee, which is renewed every three years.
Since 2010, when federal lawsuits in in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, struck down the ruling that handguns could be banned, the city has grudgingly allowed handgun ownership. Registration of any handgun assumes an additional onetime fee of $15.
Cook County and the city of Chicago have separately banned the possession of "assault weapons."
Even though guns are almost impossible to obtain legally in the city of Chicago itself, the Chicago Police Department has in the past decade seized more than 50,000 illegal guns. This is despite the fact that the city prohibits the sale of ANY firearms, even by FFL holders, inside of the city limits.
With this in mind, Chicago is now looking at adding a...
New CCW Law
Illinois, responding to a Federal Appeals Court ruling in December 2012 in the case of Moore v. Madigan that the state end its ban on concealed carry firearms by lawful citizens, recently became the last state in the Union to do so. In an 89-28 vote, the state House approved a plan that had previously sailed through the state Senate by a 45-12 vote, making concealed carry legal in the state soon. With so many votes, its veto-proof.
Once the law goes into effect, Illinois residents who pass a background check, pay $150, and get 16-hours of training, will be able to apply for a permit to carry issued by the State Police. You won't be able to carry in more than two dozen prohibited places (at the request of Chicago lawmakers) such as CTA and Metra buses and trains, casinos, government buildings and stadiums. Furthermore, you have to already have a Firearms Owners ID (FOID) card as well and have a legally compliant gun, but hey, they are taking baby steps here.
It will be interesting to see if the crime rate takes a nosedive. We've already seen the alternative.