Where do the guns used in crimes in Chicago come from? The usual answer offered by gun control advocates is that they are brought in from other states with “weak” laws. An example of this is found in an interview on the 3rd of January broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight with Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
Horwitz claims that sixty percent of guns involved in crimes in Chicago come from states like “Wisconsin, Mississippi, [and] Indiana.” To hear him tell it, “Illinois has okay gun laws, okay? So they don’t have the best, they don’t have the worst.” This is one point on which Horwitz and I can agree, though we’d differ on which direction things have been going. He criticized the search for plaintiffs in the Heller and McDonald cases and expressed his hope that Chicago would be allowed to continue banning handguns. Fortunately, things went the other way. And the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that forced Illinois to go from a no-issue to a shall-issue policy is another point that I see as an improvement, while Horwitz is on record as wanting ever more restrictions on legal carry. I’ll leave it to him to say what his opinion is of the requirement to have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card just to own a gun or ammunition, but that to me is another Illinois law that needs to go.
Now is Horwitz correct about the percentage of guns coming from out of state? This is the kind of question that depends on the qualifiers made with the claim. But the evidence from the ATF suggests that most guns come, in fact, from the suburbs of Chicago and surrounding counties in Illinois. That’s of guns that the ATF could trace, and the research shows that many guns can’t be traced, and these facts make definitive statements about where crime guns originate difficult.
Tucker Carlson pointed out that New York City has seen a decline in gun violence, and when Horwitz said that the Big Apple has “great gun laws,” Carlson reminded him that Vermont isn’t that far away, giving us good reason to doubt the claim that so-called weak laws in some states make cities and states with onerous regulations unsafe.
To the gun community, Vermont stands out as an example to the nation, a state that follows what the Second Amendment says. If we’re looking for a national standard, lots of states have good laws to offer, though, and New York, Illinois, and California, among a few others, are running against the trend. I suppose that Horwitz and I would agree again that we do need one rule across the nation, but as before, what I want as that standard—the Constitution—isn’t something that he prefers to follow.
The remaining point to consider is why guns feel the need to travel to Chicago to cause mayhem. Indiana is a favorite target of gun control advocates, but the homicide rate in that state is consistently a bit lower than that of Illinois. And Wisconsin’s rate is much lower. Mississippi has a higher rate of homicides, so apparently, the mood of guns is all over the psychological map when it comes to their preferences regarding where to involve themselves in killing.
I’m being facetious, of course. The valid conclusion here is that there is no correlation between gun laws and homicide rates. If Horwitz were right, there would be a clear pattern of greater violence in Wisconsin and Indiana than in Illinois. But that’s not the way things are, and thus his argument in this case for further restriction of gun rights falls apart.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.
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