I don’t live in Chicago, but I have a good friend who does. Lisa, who grew up in the very gun-oriented state of Alaska, brought this to my attention.
Hadiya Pendleton, majorette, honor student and volleyball player, performed with her high school band at President Obama’s inauguration lsat week. This week she was shot dead in a public park less than a mile from Obama’s Kenwood home in Chicago. Of course, the White House used her death as a prop for promoting its gun-control plans.
Pendleton was the 44th homicide victim in Chicago in 2013. Last year, Chicago had more than 500 murders. Homicides in that city have picked up dramatically in recent years and now outnumber those in New York City, which has three times the population of Chicago. In fact, fewer people were killed in the Big Apple in 2012 than in any year since the 1960s. In Washington DC, there have been only four murders so far in 2013, a 33% decrease from the same period last year, when the city had the fewest killings in 50 years.
While media is focused on mass shootings, homicide, violent crime and gun deaths are all dramatically decreasing nationwide, according to FBI statistics. Not in Chicago, however. Why is Chicago the national gun violence exception? It’s not lenient gun control – Chicago has the strongest gun control regime in the nation; assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines are completely banned and until the 2010 Supreme Court decision that legalized them, handguns were also banned. You can now own a firearm with a permit in Chicago, but it requires firearms training, two separate background checks and a firearm owner’s identification card. Despite these burdensome and punitive measures, 7640 people currently hold a firearms permit in Chicago.
Circling back to my Chicago-resident friend, Lisa. She lives in a relatively “safe” neighborhood, but neighbors have been mugged, homes broken into, homeowners killed within blocks of her house. She and her family huddle behind locked doors at night and do not venture forth unless in a locked car because of the violence that surrounds them. Gun ownership by citizens is not the problem. It wasn’t a permit holder who killed Pendleton. A criminal killed this young girl and criminals couldn’t care less about Chicago’s gun laws.
Chicagoans would like to believe that the illegal guns in their city could be eliminated by a nationwide gun ban, but if the real failure of Chicago’s gun control laws is that guns can be purchased in other jurisdictions, then why are America’s other major cities seeing huge declines in their murder rates, despite the fact that nearly all of them are near states with relatively lax gun laws?
If Democrats truly want to make Americans safer, they should delay passing feel-good laws that will do nothing to decrease gun violence and instead take a closer, searching look at what is going horribly wrong in Barack Obama’s hometown.