After any mass shooting in America, the gun debate will inevitably turn to the city of Chicago, Illinois. Gun-rights advocates love to point to Chicago—a city with a reputation for having strict Gun Laws—as proof that Gun Control measures do not work. President Trump has repeatedly brought up Chicago as a failed experiment for firearm legislation. But bringing up Chicago’s homicide problem should not end the argument for gun control as many beliefs associated with the city’s gun laws are either false, misleading, or point to a more significant problem shared by the United States as a whole.

Dwindling gun regulations

It is true that Chicago once had some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. They were one of few cities that outlawed handguns, gun shops, and concealed weapons permits, but none of those laws are currently in effect. In 2010, The Supreme Court shot down the handgun ban in the landmark case McDonald v. Chicago citing that denying handguns to citizens violated a second amendment right to self-defense.

Courts would eventually overturn Chicago’s bans on gun shops and concealed weapon permits as well. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago’s current firearm laws are no stricter than many other American cities and are similar to the rules in Los Angeles and New York.

Chicago’s gun laws have been watered down substantially over the years, yet they still have more regulations than most cities. But even with the current measures, Chicago still has an exceptionally high number of homicides each year.

According to DNA Info, over 500 murders have been recorded so far this year. This statistic begs the question, why does Chicago have such a problem with gun violence?

The main issue has to do with firearms brought into the city from neighboring states. According to Chicago P.D., around 60 percent of all firearms seized by police come from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Mississippi. Indiana is a particularly troubling contributor to Chicago’s gun violence problem.

Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, recently discussed Indiana’s role in an interview with Crooked Media. According to Ludwig, criminals seeking weapons often travel the short distance from Chicago to Indiana where lax gun laws make it possible to avoid background checks and other measures by buying at gun shows or from private parties. This example suggests that no matter how strict Chicago’s gun laws are, they are made useless because of the weak laws in bordering states.

It's not just Chicago

Chicago is the go-to example by second amendment advocates looking to push an anti-gun control agenda, but it is hardly the only American city dealing with an epidemic of gun violence. According to the Bismarck Tribune, despite Chicago’s high number of annual homicides, 24 US cities have higher homicide rates. And those cities are spread evenly among states with strong gun laws and those with few gun laws.

The data shows that states refusing to implement stricter gun control measures make it impossible for cities like Chicago to regulate the flow of weapons into their neighborhoods no matter how tight the laws might be. Highlighting Chicago as an example of how gun control doesn’t work feeds a false narrative that continually leads to inaction from lawmakers. There are things we can do to limit gun violence in this country, but we all have to get on board.

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