Chicago's latest problem another gun control failure

Julie Jacobson

While people like to pretend there’s no gun control to speak of in this country, there’s quite a bit on the books. Sure, it’s not as much as you’d find in most parts of Europe, but it’s still not exactly zero, either.


Yet in some areas, there’s even more gun control.

Time and time again, these anti-Second Amendment regulations are held up as examples of what we need more of, often regardless of those laws inability to actually address the problems they were supposed to address.

Chicago has long been held up as an example of those failures.

Now, the latest gun issue in the Windy City is just another such example.

Offenders with automatic weapons increasingly have our streets under siege, often with more potent weapons than police. Some of the guns are homemade or altered with devices that turn legal handguns into illegal machine guns.

It’s a fast-developing and deadly problem for police and the public across metro Chicago.

The new leader at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Chicago Field Division told the I-Team the situation is much worse than when he first started with the bureau.

“We’re seeing an alarming rise in machine gun conversion devices,” said Christopher Amon, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Chicago.

The firearms in question are modified pistols that fire continuously as long as the trigger is pulled, making them essentially pocked-sized submachine guns. Criminals are taking regular semi-automatic handguns, which require a trigger pull for each bullet to be fired, and installing a tiny and illegal metal or plastic switch that makes them fully automatic.

“They’re up nationwide 561 percent between 2018 and 2021” said Amon.


Of course, without beginning numbers–which Amon seems to admit are pretty low since he acknowledges full-auto wasn’t largely used in violent crime–that 561 percent over three years is kind of meaningless.

Though, admittedly, it’s still a significant increase, even if the total number were just 10.

The kicker is that these have been illegal for almost 90 years. They were banned before they were even invented thanks to the National Firearms Act.

But hey, if they’re illegal, how are people getting them?

“Essentially the same powers as a Tommy gun in a pistol. A majority of them are coming from overseas, so places like China, Russia. You can also 3-D print them,” he said. “It’s an absolute threat not only to our law enforcement officers and citizens of Chicago, it just means that again, we’re facing firepower that we, in a lot of cases, have never faced before on the streets.”

See, the problem with gun control is that it pretends you can just legislate your way out of the Law of Supply and Demand.

You can’t.

When there is a demand, someone will find a way to supply it and make a profit. With full-auto switches, we’re seeing that play out despite the fact that these are completely and totally banned in this country and have been for such a long time.


What no one in Chicago wants to admit, though, is that if you can’t stop the spread of a device that has never been legal, how are you going to stop the spread of firearms themselves?

As it stands now, there are nearly 400 million firearms in private hands. If you banned them tomorrow, they wouldn’t all go away and suddenly we’d have peace in our time. Even if every currently law-abiding citizen gave up their guns, the criminals won’t. They’ll still have guns and they’ll still find a way to get more of them.

After all, they’re getting full-auto switches and those are prohibited. Why would guns be different?

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