Gun Laws: Chicago Politicians Think You're Stupid

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Originally posted in my new blog, on July 12, 2010.

Recently the Supreme Court struck down Chicago's 28 year-old handgun ban as unconstitutional. While the outcome surprised few, Chicago's reaction to the ruling has raised a few eyebrows, especially among the pro-liberty crowd.

In response to the ruling, the city of Chicago has moved to revise its handgun ownership laws. Among the new laws, which are already being challenged, with support from the NRA, are a restriction to one gun per household and a continued ban on sale within the city limits of Chicago. None of this is surprising to anyone following the continuing saga of gun ownership rights in Chicago and across the nation. What is surprising, is the notion, promoted by "city leadership" that these tough new restrictions are necessary to prevent an outbreak of handgun violence in the city.

Hello! Planet Earth calling. This is Chicago, Illinois we're talking about, right? The same city that earlier this very year was contemplating calling in the National Guard to help with the outbreak of violence in the city? The very type of outbreak about which they are warning us now? Is that really the position they are taking?

This wouldn't be so sad if they weren't serious and the stakes weren't so high. There have already been at least152 murders with a firearm in Chicago (as of June 15) and more are sure to follow. The city has become so dangerous that an 80 year-old Korean war veteran, a month before the ban was lifted, shot and killed an intruder who first fired at him. This, despite it being against the law at the time to own a handgun. But being 80 years old with your wife and grandson in the home leaves you few realistic choices for self defense. Luckily for this family one person made the right choice and it saved lives.

So why do I suggest that Chicago politicians think their constituents are stupid? The same reason most politicians think the same about their constituants. They present scary sounding facts to their adoring public and count on you to not read between the lines, or worse yet, not read what is right in front of them. And in most cases, they are correct. Case in point, directly from the text of Chicago's new ordinances:

"Whereas, between the beginning of this year and June 15, 2010, there were 742 aggrevated batteries with a firearm, of which 36 took place inside a residence, and 152 murders with a firearm, of which 19 were inside a residence;"

Let's look at this deeper, since this is part of their reasoning for limiting Chicagoans' right to defend life to the inside of their residence  (not even the front porch or yard is legally defendable under the new laws). They argue that self defense must be limited to the home because of statistics like those above. And what they count on you to NOT notice, is the facts staring you right in the face, namely that over 95% of the aggrevated batteries mentioned took place OUTSIDE the home, as did over 87% of the murders. They are also counting on you to be grateful to them for making you a whopping 5% safer from aggrevated battery, or 12% safer from murder. Of course that's not true either.

Since, according to their own numbers, you are about 20 times more likely to be assaulted with a firearm outside your home, or about 8 times more likely to be murdered, to the astute observer this comes as very little comfort. As long as you cower within your home with your one, and only one, properly registered firearm at the ready, you will be safe. If however, you choose not to live the life of a hermit, you must leave that firearm at home, unlike the criminals in the above offense, who will have no fear taking your property, or your life, or both.

Chicago politicians supporting this bill also point out other obvious pitfalls of higher gun ownership, like increased danger for paramedics and other first responders, even though this has not been shown to be an issue in the other 48 states. But Daley and his cronies have never been known for their use of facts in support of gun control, so I guess this latest news really comes as no surprise. More to follow as facts, and the next court case, unfold.