Chicago, a city known both for its restrictive gun laws and its troubling problem with shooting deaths, recently lost a battle in federal court trying to uphold their ban on handgun sales.
In an opinion from U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, he wrote that the ordinance “goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms.”
However, before any stores can open for business, the city has both the right to appeal the decision further or to come up with a new ordinance that is constitutional and thereby less restrictive. Also, the city still has the right to restrict zoning as a way to limit how many gun stores there are and where they are allowed to be.
Further, Judge Chang writes that even though most illegal guns are initially purchased from a legal weapons dealer, the law enforcement focus should be on the person who then illegally transfers the gun to other parties. These “straw purchasers” should have the focus of law enforcement operations, which could extend to dealers if they knowingly sell to one.
Increasingly, studies are finding that the restrictive gun control measures aren’t as effective as initially thought, especially since the only ones respecting those laws are legal, responsible gun owners and dealers. A global Harvard study published last fall discovered that the number of guns available in a community is irrespective of the murder rate. A more recent study in the academic journal Applied Economics found that states that allow concealed-carrying of weapons had lower murder rates than cities that do not.
The findings of these studies, coupled with these rules, puts gun control advocates in particularly difficult position. It seems that rather than a preponderance of guns, it is a preponderance of willingness to murder that is at the heart of America’s homicide problem, via handgun or any other means. How does one even approach legislating against that?
Thus, the debate will most likely remain unchanged and politicians will align their opinions about guns with those of their constituents, in order to ensure reelection. One might suggest that it’s the debate itself that hold the most appeal for those on either side who’d prefer to keep arguing tired points rather than embracing new ideas and strategies.