In two recent Chicago cases, property owners wounded or killed intruders with handguns. The weapons violated the city’s 28-year-old handgun ban, but police so far have declined to press charges, says the Chicago Tribune. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on the constitutionality of Chicago’s gun ban, and many believe the justices will strike it down. The decision is essentially irrelevant for many who live in Chicago. One expert estimates there is a handgun in as many as 100,000 city households, despite the ban. Gang members or those with misdeeds in mind aren’t the only ones who have them. In some neighborhoods, otherwise-law-abiding citizens feel forced to violate the gun ban, they say, to protect themselves and their families.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” said a DVD salesman who has two daughters and said he bought a handgun after two thugs shot him during a recent robbery attempt. “I think people need guns to protect themselves.” Jens Ludwig, a University of Chicago professor and director of the university’s Crime Lab notes there are no government data tracking guns in private hands, illegal guns by nature are not registered, and a random survey would be like “calling people up and asking them if they engage in any other illegal behavior, like snorting cocaine or beating their kids,” he said. Based on a study that Ludwig and other experts conducted in 2007 on Chicago’s underground gun market, he roughly estimated that as many as 100,000 Chicago households could have handguns.