Calls for increased “common sense” gun control laws after Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, or Connecticut’s Sandy Hook and Colorado’s Aurora shootings, suggest that gun control laws effectively prevent gun violence.
One of Barack Obama’s “home states,” Illinois clarifies the debate. His argument of more laws, less crime, should be realized in Chicago and Cook County, especially, which have some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
In Illinois, for example, to legally own a firearm one must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card issued by the Illinois State Police. This requires undergoing a background check via the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which can take more than 60 days. Once issued, FOID cards are valid for 10 years.
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Next, to purchase a firearm, a buyer’s FOID card must be verified by the seller using the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP). Once approved, a 24-hour wait period is required for purchasing a rifle or shotgun, and a 72 hour-period for a handgun.
Additionally, Cook County legislators made illegal the ownership of an assault weapon and certain semi-automatic weapons, as well as limited the capacity of ammo magazines to hold no more than 10 rounds.
Chicago legislators also banned ownership and possession of assault weapons, including a variety of semi-automatic weapons, and ammo magazines holding more than 15 rounds. Other restrictions apply regarding storage of firearms dependent upon minors living in the home.
Further still, Chicago lawmakers attempted to ban all gun sales in the city, which a federal judge overruled. After which the city passed an ordinance in 2014 banning gun sales in certain locations of the city– and required that all gun sales be videotaped and that only one firearm could be purchased within a 30 day period.
Despite this, the Chicago Tribune reported that the month of September, 2015 was the deadliest month of the year. During the month of September, according to data compiled by the Chicago Tribune’s breaking news desk, more homicides occurred in September than any other month in 2015 and the second highest number of shootings occurred in September.
It also reports that September 2015 was the city’s deadliest September since 2002.
The Tribune writes,
“This year is shaping up to be the worst yet. At first, gun violence was near or below previous years, but since the middle of May 2015 this year has outpaced all other years in Tribune records. Through the end of September, shootings have risen about 18 percent from last year.”
In addition, its data reveals that more than 75 percent of the homicide victims were black; the majority of the shooting victims were 25 to 29-year-old men. The youngest victim was 11 months old; the oldest, 81 years old.
September 2, 2015 marked the most homicides in a single day in Chicago in more than a decade (since 2003). And in late September, over two consecutive weekends more than 50 people were shot; 52 wounded; four killed.
Despite claims to the contrary, statistics point to the fact that Chicago’s strict gun laws have not deterred gun-related violence. In fact, its laws have significantly contributed to increased gun related crimes. John Lott’s seminal work More Guns, Less Crime cites numerous statistical data, not just in Chicago but nationwide, revealing that less gun control laws correlates to less gun related crime.
In fact, Lott refers to numerous examples evidencing that the greater number of law-abiding citizens who own guns directly correlates to decreased and less violent crime incidents. Additionally, semi-automatic weapons have repeatedly proven to protect property owners at their homes and businesses.
In real life situations, the greater the number of gun laws correlates to increased incidents of gun related crime. Conversely, the less gun control laws, enabling more law abiding citizens to own guns, directly correlates to less occurrences of gun related crime.