It’s been a bloody year in Chicago, and it’s not over yet. The 701st gun homicide was recently recorded in the Illinois city that President Obama calls his home town.
It’s the highest number of gun deaths in 20 years, and it’s significantly higher than the totals from New York City and Los Angeles, combined. In August alone, an incredible 92 deaths were tallied, the highest monthly body count since the early nineties.
The number of victims killed by guns is stunning, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. There were also 4050 shootings in which a victim was struck, but not killed. Another 3315 shooting incidents were logged in which the intended victim was shot at, but not hit.
All total, this makes more than 8,000 separate shooting incidents, or a staggering 24 shootings every single day of the year so far. This represents a 50% increase from last year.
With a gun control advocate like Obama in the White House, and one of his long time political allies, Rahm Emanuel, serving as the mayor of Chicago, it’s remarkable to see such numbers coming out of city.
While President Obama did not try and pass sweeping new gun legislation during his time in office, he did push for a renewal of the so-called “assault weapons” ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and an increase in background checks. He made it clear in several remarks that he doesn’t believe that it’s politically possible at this time to enact more extreme federal restrictions.
“Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid,’ and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” the President said in a State of the Union address from January 2014.
With Obama’s political rise coming during his years in Chicago, and his frequent reference to the city as his home town, many observers expected him to do something about the crushing poverty and soaring gun vi0lence that plagues the city.
With unemployment remaining at high levels, and an epidemic of gang violence in the president’s final year in office, it’s unclear how his term in office has been of any benefit to the people of Chicago.
Chicago is a good testing ground for theories about gun control. And what we are able to conclude from 2016 is that gun control simply doesn’t work in the least. In fact it may even contribute to higher levels of gun violence.
Here we have a city that has been controlled by Democrats for decades – they haven’t voted for a Republican mayor since 1927! Its favorite son is in the White House, with another powerful Washington insider at the helm as mayor. Billions of federal dollars have been spent trying to solve the city’s problems. And it has passed some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. All to no avail.
If gun control doesn’t work in Chicago, how could it work anywhere?
The most stringent gun laws in the U.S. happen to be in Chicago – and look what is happening there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2014
It’s telling that President Obama and his family have decided not to return to Chicago after they leave the White House in January. Instead they will be staying in a $6 million mansion in a tony suburb of D.C., until his youngest daughter finishes school. After that they are expected to retire to a ritzy country club community in Southern California.
Chicago has a long history of gun control efforts that are so radical they have been later rejected by the courts.
In 1967, Mayor Richard J. Daley attempted to pass a requirement that all guns in the city be registered with officials. A compromise was later reached that would require a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) issued by they city.
In 1981, Morton Grove, a suburb of Chicago with 25,000 residents at the time, became the first municipality in the U.S. to ban the sale, transportation and ownership of handguns. The ordinance was immediately challenged in court, and U.S. District Judge Bernard Decker ruled the ordinance is valid.
Emboldened by that ruling, Mayor Jane Byrne and the city council begin hearings on an ordinance proposed by alderman Ed Burke that would ban the sale and registration of hand guns in Chicago. The ordinance passed in 1982. Chicago became the first major U.S. city to freeze handgun ownership. Chicago suburbs began passing similar bans.
After a series of lawsuits, the Illinois Supreme Court finally upheld the handgun ban in 1984.
In 1992, after a particularly violent year in 1991 which saw an record-breaking 922 homicide deaths, Mayor Richard M. Daley (son of J. Daley) banned the possession of semi-automatic rifles, calling them “assault weapons”.
Finally, after a series of legal challenges, in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s 1982 gun ownership ban (McDonald v. Chicago), ruling that the Constitution gives individuals greater or equal power with states on the issue of possession of certain firearms for protection. A community activist who sought a hand gun to protect himself and his family from gang violence filed the appeal.
The next several years saw court rejections of most of Chicago’s unconstitutional gun bans, including their ban on gun stores in the city. The city responded by creating a bureaucratic maze of red tape and expensive fees that residents must navigate in order to secure their right to self defense.
What is most notable is that during the years when Chicago had the most strict and unconstitutional gun control laws on the books, including a total ban on handguns and semi-auto rifles, the homicide numbers remained among the highest in the entire nation.
Shortly before Obama was elected president in 2008, Rich Pearson, who spent 15 years as Illinois’ top gun lobbyist, had this to say about the candidate’s position on the 2nd Amendment:
“The truth be told, in all my years in the Capitol I have never met a legislator who harbors more contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner than does Barack Obama.
Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns.
Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.”
With this background, the National Rifle Association had to work very diligently to make sure Obama couldn’t pass these restrictions at the federal level during his time in office. Thanks to their strong base of support, they were successful in blocking expansions of national gun laws.
It’s tragic that so many lives have been claimed in a city that has tried to tackle the problem from the wrong side. Instead of increasing the restrictions on guns year after year, the lawmakers in Illinois should have recognized that they were making no positive impact on gun crimes.
Perhaps if they had tried a fresh approach, and made it easier for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, the homicides would have been reduced. As it stands, we have yet another deadly year in the city that has served as the poster child for gun control. Will Democrats take notice, or will they continue racing down the wrong path at full speed?