Chicago’s Gun Violence Victims Deserve Better

Six people were shot in Chicagoland Monday night where an unconstitutional handgun ban has somehow failed to stop gun violence. In April of this year, 36 people were shot in the city in 36 hours. It’s hard to find a day when the Chicago Tribune doesn’t have a shooting to report on.

What if we tried something new? Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, guns or the word “bossy,” somehow when we ban things people keep buying, drinking, using and saying them anyway.

Perhaps Chicago could think about getting its gun laws in line with the Constitution. District of Columbia v. Heller established that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for “traditionally lawful purposes,” such as self-defense within the home. It also established that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment. While the decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond federal enclaves to the states, McDonald v. Chicago did.

It’s certain that Chicago residents cannot trust the police to protect them from gun violence. And it’s not because there aren’t enough of them. Chicago has more police officers per capita than New York or Los Angeles.

Instead, it appears that, especially if they’re non-white, they can expect violence from the police. Jianqing “Jessica” Klyzek has video footage from her tanning salon showing Chicago police striking her while handcuffed and kneeling while another officer shouted racial slurs and threatening to have her and her family killed. Then in a cover-up attempt, police falsified information in investigation reports to charge her with a crime for which a judge found no probable cause, and dismissed.

That’s when they’re not busy citing women for Facebook comments. Apparently Will County forest preserve police thought the woman had admitted to violating park rules in her Facebook post and fined her for illegal use of a park.

In a stunning show of missing the point, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is blaming illegal guns for the shootings. Which is like blaming the roads for car accidents.

“This report shows the extent to which illegal guns are the leading factor in driving violence,” Emanuel said in a statement to the press about a new report showing that most of the guns connected with shooting in the city were obtained illegally. Maybe that’s because you cannot legally have a handgun in the city, so every handgun the police find out about is, gasp, illegal. The stupid, it burns.

He suggested taking “simple, reasonable steps to curb the flow of illegal guns onto our streets.” Well, you’ve already banned them, contra the Constitution. So I’m not sure what exactly your plan is.

“Every family, every child, every person in Chicago deserves to enjoy the same sense of freedom and safety,” he said. Well ya damn right about that. But gun laws don’t get us there. Instead, research indicates that whether it’s Chicago or New York or Los Angeles violent crime results from poverty and police resources.

Violence happens when police are violent, racist thugs. Violence happens when people operate in black markets without property rights protection. Violence happens when public schools are worthless dropout factories. Violence happens when unemployment and prison are facts of life. Blaming guns for violence is asinine. And it’s an insult to the victims of violence to be so intellectually dishonest as to try to pass that idea off as plausible.

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