This is devastating for a city no doubt, but one thing you won’t hear from me is the this-is-what-happens-when-you-ban-guns argument. There are too many variables involved and I won’t be pulled into the “Chicago is a gun control bellwether” argument.
Not all the murders in Chicago this month have been related to firearms. From CBS Chicago.
The murder toll in Chicago for the month of January now stands at 42, making it the most deadly January in Chicago in more than 10 years.
The last fatality happened in the Kenwood neighborhood on Tuesday, where a 15-year-old honor student, was shot and killed while taking shelter from the rain in a park.
Devastating. Culture. Problem.
We can point to cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. with higher levels of violent crime, and point to gun control as a problem. Recent history has ensured residents who are not prohibited persons could not purchase, own or carry a firearm for self-defense. That pretty much ensured the people who had guns were of the criminal element, associated with gangs and drug distribution.
The United States is somewhat unique in that someone can purchase (or steal) a firearm somewhere and transport it easily to places like D.C. and Chicago. Gun control advocates will point to “illegal” guns being transported into the cities from other areas. Politicians like mayors Michael Bloomberg (D-New York City), Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) and Vincent C. Gray (D-D.C.) are pointing to these”illegal guns” as the problem. Do they see how idiotic this argument is? Can they clearly explain why all the illegal guns are not heading to Austin, Charlotte, San Diego, Seattle or El Paso?
There are questions we can ask, but when you look at any data set, you must consider the variables. It is difficult to “rank” state by state, city by city. Population density, age, income, climate, effectiveness of law enforcement, residence stability, and modes of transportation are just a few of the variables that factor into crime statistics.
Why is the 2011 murder rate in Chicago .16 per thousand and it’s only .09 per thousand in Houston? Chicago is the fourth and Houston the fifth largest city in the country and have populations of 2.7 and 2.1 million respectively. One might point to the fact Houston’s residents can carry concealed and firearm ownership is wide-spread, where that is not the case in Chicago. Although true, that would not fully explain it and I would not use that argument as the only reason to suggest Chicago get on board with open and/or concealed carry.
In Philadelphia the murder rate in 2011 was .21 per thousand and you can carry open or concealed (with a permit). We could muddy the waters a bit more and reference Dallas, which has a violent crime rate of 7 per thousand as compared to Houston’s 10 per thousand. Why the big difference between two cities in the same state?
Then I could go back to Newark, N.J. where it is very difficult to get a permit to carry. The murder rate in Newark was .34 per thousand.
If all of those “illegal guns” are travel from state to state, city to city, we have to wonder why they show up in greater numbers in one place and not so much in an other place. Be careful when referencing statistics, because the crime data reports are unable to factor in for all of the variables, but one thing seems pretty certain … it’s not about the guns.