Chicago Paradox? City With Strict Gun Laws, Awash With Firearms, Crime


Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, is trying to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, reports the New York Times. To gun rights advocates, the city provides stark evidence that even some of the toughest restrictions fail to make places safer. “The gun laws in Chicago only restrict the law-abiding citizens and they've essentially made the citizens prey,” said Richard Peterson of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

To gun control proponents, the struggles underscore a need for strict, uniform national gun laws to eliminate the current patchwork of state and local rules that allow guns to flow into this city from outside. Chicago's experience shows the complications in carrying out local gun laws. Less restrictive laws in neighboring communities and states not only make guns easy to obtain nearby, but layers of differing local and state laws make it difficult to police violations. Though many describe Illinois gun laws here as relatively stringent, penalties for violating them have not proved so severe as they are in some other places, reducing the incentive to comply. Police they are discovering far more guns on the streets of Chicago than in the nation's two more populous cities, Los Angeles and New York.

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