November 6, 2015 by Chris Kite
In recent history we’ve had lots of sad examples of mass shootings followed by little action by our government. After every mass shooting you get the usual gun nut responses.
“This is not a good time to look at gun control.”
“If it wasn’t a gun, it would have been something else.”
“If you outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns.”
“We need to change schools from being ‘soft targets’ that don’t allow guns.”
And my personal favorite, “Look at Chicago, they have tough gun laws, and they are murder capital of the country.”
First of all, Chicago is NOT the murder capital of the country. Yes, it is true that in raw numbers, Chicago does have more murders than any other city. Or course Chicago also has more people than all but two other cities in the country. But on a per capita basis, doesn’t even crack the top 30! Not that we don’t have huge problems. Not that we don’t need to find better solutions.
But what is really important, is understanding the issue of local and regional gun laws versus national unity in our laws. Common sense will tell you that when a state with very loose gun laws is literally a walk across the street for some parts of the city, local gun laws are very limited in what they can accomplish. All someone that wants a gun has to do is cross the border into Indiana and they are very easy to come by. Indiana is also a paradise for gun shows where anyone with cash can buy an arsenal of weapons. No background check required. No need to worry about whether or not you have a criminal record, history of mental illness, or a history of domestic violence. Just come on in and buy whatever you want.
The attached story and map are very telling about why Chicago’s gun laws have not been more effective in squashing gun violence in a city where just a few gun deaths over a weekend aren’t even worthy of headlines. A city where on some summer weekends, we can average a shooting every hour.
But as the link illustrates, our problem originates in a lack of national unity of gun laws. Our problem comes from many other states. Make no mistake. Guns aren’t the only problem. Institutional poverty and racially homogenouse neighborhoods are a big part of the problem. Poor schools and little hope for a better life play a huge role. And inability to disband gangs is at the root of the issue. Kids raising kids and parents that have to work so many hours they have no time to influence their children’s lives exacerbate the issue. Poor parenting makes the problem worse still.
But the simple truth is, with less guns in the hands of people that want to do harm, there would be less gun murders not only in Chicago, but in other top 10 US murder cities (per capita) like East St. Louis, IL; Camden, Trenton, and Newark, NJ; Gary, IN; Chester, PA; Saginaw, Flint, and Detroit, MI; and New Orleans, LA.
We need national gun laws. We need universal background checks on every single gun sale/transfer no matter what the situation. We need mandatory safety training and testing for every gun owner. We need to change the way guns are acquired in the United States of America.
Of course there is little hope of that happening as long as the NRA continues to own our political process.