At the End of the Progressive Rainbow – Gun Control in Chicago

January 18, 2013

Chicago has some of the most progressive, and restrictive, gun control laws in the country.  When the city’s gun ban was ruled unconstitutional, the city revised gun ordinances to restrict who can own guns and require all guns to be registered.  Additionally, gun owners must get a city permit and a state firearms identification card.  There are also rules for gun storage and transport.

Despite these restrictions, Chicago had 506 homicides  last year, the majority involving handguns.  This murder rate, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, “…is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods.”  Neither Chicago’s tough gun laws, nor President Obama’s gun control proposals, could have stopped these murders on the streets of Chicago.  (They probably would not have prevented the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. either.)

If progressive gun control laws do not prevent such violence, what would?  This is, of course, difficult to answer.  Some would say self-defense via gun ownership is the answer. But others point to the societal causes of crime and violence as the true target of any solutions.  Lee Habib argues that we must deal with the crisis of a generation of young black (and hispanic) males who have no fathers to provide guidance and teach self-control.  Tom Bevan asks President Obama, in his unique position as the first African-American president, to come to Chicago and  stand as a role model against the influence of nihilistic gangs and the violence-glorifying media of Hollywood movies and video games.  Spencer Leak, director of a funeral home on Chicago’s South Side, cites a lack of “religious upbringing” as a major factor.  Certainly unemployment and poverty must be dealt with if we hope to reduce crime and offer alternatives to criminal lifestyles.

What is clear is that we cannot simply regulate ourselves out of this problem.  As a former Speaker of the US House of Representatives put it: “If gun control works, Chicago ought to be safe.”

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One Response to “At the End of the Progressive Rainbow – Gun Control in Chicago”

  1. […] (For a further discussion of gun violence and regulation, see this post.) […]

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