Chicago does not have the strictest gun laws in the country. It’s time for gun lovers to stop spreading that lie.
A decade ago that was indeed a title Chicago wore proudly. We were the only major city that still had an ordinance banning residents from keeping a handgun in their home.
The handgun ban made us the primary target of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, and in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court forced Chicago to fall into line with the rest of the country.
Since then, the courts have peeled off so many layers of our once stellar gun ordinance that it’s barely recognizable. We’re still maneuvering to keep gun stores and shooting ranges from opening in the city limits. But the courts have ruled against us on that, too, so we know it’s just a matter of time.
I’m already seeing the gun nuts trot out the old myth that Chicago has the nation’s strictest gun control laws and the highest rates of gun violence. Neither statement is true.
Chicago used to have stricter gun control laws, but its 1982 ban on handguns was struck down by the courts in 2010. Illinois’s concealed carry ban was struck down two years later, and this applied to Chicago as well. Now its gun control laws are pretty standard, for the U.S.
See also Dahleen Glanton in the Chicago Tribune:
So much for the nation’s strictest gun control laws (I believe that honor actually goes to New York City, which also has a much lower rate of gun violence than most other U.S. major cities).
But what about Chicago’s awful gun violence rate? Chicago has a lot of gun violence, that’s true. And if you look at raw numbers, Chicago does have more shooting victims than other cities. But Chicago also has more people than most other cities. When you look at the data adjusted for population — killings per 100,000 residents — a different story unfolds, and Chicago falls way down the list. For many years the honor of most gun killings per capita has been held by New Orleans. I understand St. Louis is currently #2, having overtaken Detroit in recent years. Then we’ve got Baltimore, Oakland, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Memphis, Buffalo, District of Columbia, Stockton, Miami, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. Then comes Chicago. New York — you know, the place that really does have tough gun control laws — isn’t in the top 20 at all.
So please, people, every time you see somebody spread the lie about Chicago gun laws and gun violence, set them straight. Thanks much.