One sin we often commit in the gun community is believing that Chicago is a gun desert like New York City. It used to be, of course, but following the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision, the city opened up to the world of armed citizens.
Don’t get me wrong. The city didn’t become gun friendly overnight. Illinois state law still provides a number of limits on gun purchasing, including requiring a special ID to purchase a firearm.
But there are firearms in the city, and there have been for a little while now. Not only that, but the state isn’t a “duty to retreat” state, which is pretty close to Stand Your Ground in my book.
What are the results of all that? Despite the rampant violence in the city, it’s actually getting better.
For the second year in a row, the number of homicides and shootings in Chicago dropped by double-digit percentages in 2018, though some neighborhoods on the West and South sides continue to bear the brunt of gun violence as they have for decades.
Homicides dropped by 15 percent, shootings by 18 percent, according to data kept by the Tribune. That continues a trend from 2016, when violence reached levels not seen since the 1990s.
“Are we where we want to be? Of course not,” Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the Tribune. He attributed the progress over the last year to improved technology, more federal involvement in investigations of gun crimes and continued efforts to rebuild community trust.
“I do think we are taking steps in the right direction,’’ he said.
As of Friday, more than 2,900 people had been shot and there were at least 570 homicides this year, according to statistics kept by the Tribune.
Last year, at least 3,567 people were shot and at least 675 homicides were recorded.
The data also show that two of the most violent police districts last year were still among the top areas for shootings and homicides this year: Harrison on the West Side and Englewood on the South Side, both encompassing neighborhoods that have long struggled with crime.
These are also areas where people often can’t afford to jump through the state’s hoops and still get a firearm. There are efforts to arm at least some Illinois residents which may well include some of these folks.
While lawmakers from the Windy City see this as a feature, it’s not. Instead, it gives criminals the opportunity to declare it open season on anyone they want while the economically-disadvantaged can do nothing but pray they’re not caught in the crossfire.
That’s the world they want for all of us, folks. They want guns to become the exclusive right to the wealthy, the people who can pay whatever taxes, fees, and so on required to own a gun, all while the little people who absolutely have to have a gun to keep themselves safe will be relegated to using harsh language and rude hand gestures to defend themselves.
Luckily, they’re not going to make that a reality, no matter how hard they try.
They can’t even make Chicago a gun desert, and the people of that city should be thankful for that fact.