Regardless of which side of the political aisle you call home, everybody can agree on one thing—Chicago and Baltimore are in disarray. Battered by violence and death, entire sections of both cities are not simply inhospitable, but extremely dangerous. In fact, areas like Chicago’s South Side can be literally life-threatening.
And while most can agree on this point, many Republican and Democrat politicians’ minds move apart when considering how to proceed. They often see far from eye-to-eye when pondering what steps could be taken to lessen the violence—and, by extension, the death and suffering that goes along with it.
For example, most Democrats cry for more gun control, somehow believing that the very criminals who ignore every gun law currently on the books will somehow fall into line if one more law is passed. On the other hand, many on the Republican side seek a stay on the passage of more gun laws and, in some cases, even work to repeal gun regulations that make it difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire the guns they need for self-defense.
If we look at both of these approaches through the lenses of experience and history, it is easy to see that the anti-gunners’ preferred solution is a non-starter.If we look at both of these approaches through the lenses of experience and history, it is easy to see that the anti-gunners’ preferred solution is a non-starter. In fact, experience and history suggest that gun control was causal in bringing both cities to the moment of crisis they now face.
Consider Chicago, a Democrat-run city which enacted a handgun ban in 1982. Such bans were in vogue among progressives at the time, so the city implemented one that barred possession of a handgun in one’s home, one’s car or on one’s person. In short, it was an all-out proscription on handgun possession.
Looking at things through the eyes of a leftist, one would expect such a ban to usher in peace and tranquility; that days of violence would disappear, forever replaced with days of altruism, unicorns and rainbows. Yet something entirely different happened, and Chicago has not recovered from it yet.
What happened is that the murder rate shot through the roof. The Chicago Tribune reported that the decade following the ban’s enactment witnessed a 41 percent increase in murders.
And by the 1990s, the handgun ban was correlating with annual homicide numbers that were nothing less than staggering. For example, reports from the Chicago Police Department show 921 people were murdered in the city during 1991, that 940 were murdered during 1992, 850 during 1993 and 930 during 1994.
The handgun ban was struck down in McDonald v. Chicago (2010), but a residual effect remains and the vestiges of gun control are ever-present via Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s relentless push for more regulations on law-abiding citizens. (His latest push is for more regulations on Federal Firearms License holders.)
The culmination of these things is a current violent spree that shows no signs of abating. Breitbart News reported that Chicago witnessed nearly 4,400 shooting victims and almost 800 homicides in 2016. And the city passed 1,000 shooting victims for 2017 less than four months into the year.
Yet as bad as Chicago’s violence has become, the murder rate in Baltimore is even worse. WJZ reports that Baltimore’s murder rate “more than doubles Chicago’s.”
The culmination of these things is a current violent spree that shows no signs of abating.As with Chicago, Baltimore’s violence follows the enactment of numerous new gun controls, including a bill which was ironically titled the Firearm Safety Act. The Act was put in place in 2013, banning “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines while enacting a fingerprinting/registration requirement for would-be handgun purchasers. All of this was sold under the guise of decreasing crime, but it has actually been followed by the most violent years Baltimore has ever witnessed.
The two deadliest years in Baltimore—2015 and 2016—came after the new gun controls were enacted, and the criminal use of “high capacity” magazines actually increased post-ban, reaching a high point in 2016.
This not at all what the Left predicted. In fact, the year after the new gun controls were put in place, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence President Vincent DeMarco wrote, “In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed and Gov. O’Malley signed into law a landmark new gun violence prevention measure, the Firearm Safety Act, which is already saving lives in our state. We believe it should be a model for the nation.”
Baltimore witnessed 181 homicides between January 1, 2017, and July 7, 2017. The city is on pace for its deadliest year on record.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.