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 capitol 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, more killed here than were our forces in Afghanistan the same year. Over the Independence Day holiday 82 persons were shot. According to the most recent issue of, America’s Ist Freedom, the number shot so far this year, as of early September, was 2,000, of which 326 died. 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? It must be those nasty gun shows.
A recent study published in the journal Preventive Medicine by Philip J. Cook, Susan T. Parker and Harold A. Pollack, revealed 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 precede 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.” Few stole them and “they seldom bought guns on the used market,” so Police Chief Garry McCarthy basically disarmed the victims of crime and murder leaving his lawful population unable to defend itself. The interviews revealed also that most of the weapons were handguns, very few possessed, so-called, “assault weapons.”
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”
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.
One of the greatest ironies with respect to the President’s safety is, 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? Rumor has it that San Francisco County issues only two conceal carry weapon permits and that one of these is for Senator Diane Feinstein, one of the most vocal Senators opposed to the people having the same need for protection as she. If so, what hypocrisy!
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. Americas 1st Freedom magazine, previously cited, disclosed that the county of Cook , which includes Chicago, had between January 2006 and August 2013, “more than 13,000 cases that included gun violation thrown out of court or dismissed.” In fact, “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.”
This is supported 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.” Clearly, Chicago is not enforcing its gun laws already in existence. “Only about 1 percent of the guns seized by Chicago police led to federal prosecutions.” Moreover, those prosecuted rarely get more than one year of a possible three-year sentence. Without a will to enforce existing law 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 remains 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 this or not.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College.