Many supporters of Chicago handgun ban were braced for defeat Monday, but some were surprised the U.S. Supreme Court ruling took such sharp aim at the city’s crime-fighting efforts, the Chicago Tribune reports. The high court’s decision made references to the city’s high murder rate and suggested that citizens who feel they aren’t being protected by police should be allowed to protect themselves. The decision also referred to news reports on two state legislators who called for the Illinois National Guard to be deployed in Chicago to address a rising crime problem, a move many saw as blatantly political.
Justices noted that “the plight of Chicagoans living in high-crime areas” was highlighted by the legislators, who had compared the number of people murdered in Chicago to the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, while also noting the majority of victims were minorities. Chicago officials led by Mayor Richard Daley challenged the implication that the police were not providing enough protection for residents and that more guns in the hands of citizens would create a safer city. Roseanna Ander of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab said she understood the argument that people in high-crime areas might believe they’d be safer with a gun in their home. But research shows that gun availability leads to more bloodshed, not less, she said. Ander said that rather than put more guns on the street, policies and strategies that “reduce the availability of guns (rather than) increase the availability of guns in these high-crime areas” should be considered.