Chicago’s Gun Laws

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Year after year, Chicago has had an increase in gun crimes. Chicago has gun laws that seem to be ineffective, therefore there are high crimes rates in the city. Since I have a personal experience that involves having a gun to my head, I believe that gun laws need to be changed to be made stricter because it can traumatize a person. There needs to be a restriction on who is capable of purchasing these times of weapons.

In Chicago, gun crimes are high.

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Over the years, the amount of people who have been shot in Chicago has increased. According to Chicago Tribune, the number of people shot in 2014 was 2,229, In 2015 there was 2,633 people shot and in 2016 there was 3,818 people shot. There was a huge increase in the gun shootings from the years 2015 to 2016. According to a political reporter, Danielle Kurtzleben, gun homicides in Chicago between the years of 2015 and 2016 have rose up to 61 percent which is a huge percentage. In 2017 there was 3,219 people shot and this year so far there has been 2,590 people who were shot. Even though some may argue that these past two years have been lower than the past, these numbers are still very high. A city should not have a mass number of shooting the way Chicago does. Crimes usually increase during the holiday weekends in the warmer weather because that is when people are out enjoying the fresh air. For example, Memorial day weekends usually end up resulting in shootings all around the city. According to Chicago Sun Times, seven people were killed and thirty people were wounded this year. In 2017, six people were killed and fifty-two people were wounded and the year before that six people were killed along with fifty-six wounded. This shows that many innocent people are victims of shootings. Shootings over the holiday weekends is a big problem However, shootings are not the only crimes that are commited. On May 6, 2018 there was an armed robbery in the Hermosa neighborhood. I actually happened to be inside the restaurant while it happened. As I was making my way towards the door the robber turned to me, pointed the gun in my direction and told me to not move. Things like this happen all the time and it is not okay.

Chicago does not have the strictest gun laws yet others may think otherwise. According to Danielle Kurtzleben, The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, gave the state a B+ for the gun laws in action. There actually is an assault weapons ban in cook county and at one point Chicago actually banned handguns in the city limits. Yet, in 2008, supreme court said that the ban was unconstitutional and in 2010 they confirmed that. Chicago also had a gun registry program since the year 1968 but in 2013 it was ended. After that the state passed a law which allows the concealed carry of weapons. One is allowed to be strapped at the waist and another at the ankle. Since people in Chicago are allowed to carry guns with them, there is more of a chance that they will be in use. According to Chicago Tribune, the courts have peeled off so many layers of the once stellar gun ordinance. The gun laws have been made less strict and therefore there is more of a chance that a person can pull them out and shoot when they feel it is needed. Dahleen Glanton says With the 762 people killed last year, no one has to remind us that we have a serious gun problem and we have to do something about it and she’s right. Things need to be changed regarding ownerships of guns and gun laws.

I believe that the process of purchasing a gun needs to be changed. There needs to be stricter procedures that include thorough background checks. Even though it is required to run a background check, mental health reports are not required to be part of the background check. I agree with David Shortells statement that there needs to be a database that holds all the names of people who are not allowed to purchase firearms. This way, they would not fall into the hands of those who would cause harm. As of now, when one wants to purchase a gun they have to fill out a Firearms Transaction Record. This is not a good way to determine if a person should be allowed to have guns because it has been said by the Government Accountability Office that people have lied when filling out the forms so they can be eligible to purchase. When looking at a person’s background they should notice their crime record. Those that have committed crimes in the past should not be allowed to purchase any weapons. Along with the background checks There needs to be tests to see the mental state of the person who wants to purchase firearms. According to David Shortell, from CNN, a person that has a mental illness can be stopped from purchasing a gun only if the person is involuntarily committed to a mental hospital or if a court says the person is incompetent. In Florida, if law enforcement believes that the person needs to be be evaluated then they have the right to take them in. If a patient goes in to get evaluated and if the doctor does not request to keep the patient longer than the person can continue to purchase a gun. I believe that this is a good process but I think that instead of just evaluating people who are suspected of having mental illnesses it should be done for everyone just to be sure.

There also needs to be a stop to private sellers who do not require background checks. These private sellers do not have to be from gun shops. According to Ari Freilich, a legal expert with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, people can buy guns from an ad online, a gun show or from people that sell guns in yard sales or street corners. Also Danielle Kurtzleben mentions that there was a study in 2015 that found that 60 percent of the guns used in gang related crimes and 31.6 percent of non gang related crimes between the years of 2009 and 2013 were brought in from other states. Wisconsin and Indiana do not require for a buyer to have licenses or permits to purchase guns. From the 8,700 firearms that were taken in Illinois by authority, they found out that more than half of the guns came from out of state, 16 percent of them are from Indiana specifically. I believe that states like these should only sell these weapons to a person who actually lives in that state who provides evidence of their residence there. They allow guns to fall into the hands of criminals because Chicago requires background checks and many are not capable of owning their own gun. Those not capable of buying guns in Chicago can still do so, all they have to do is go out of state to purchase one and bring it back home.

Gun laws need to be changed because gun crimes can traumatize a person. Some can continue to relive that moment in their heads for a long time. Ryan Connelly Holmes, talks about a specific case which involves Kimberly Greer. He says that she can not sleep peacefully throughout the night because she often has dreams about her son, daughter and nephew who are all victims of gun crimes. One of them survived but the other two did not. This is something that comes to her mind even if she does not want to think about it. Anyone that has experienced gun violence can suffer from trauma. Dr. David Soglin, chief medical officer at La Rabida Children’s Hospital, says if you grow up in a world where you are not feeling safe, then you feel as though you are under attack whether or not you actually are. Which he sees with the children he works with who are victims of trauma. I personally agree with the statement by Dr. David Soglin because of my own experience with gun violence. Ever since the armed robbery at Dunkin Donuts where the gun was pointed at me , I have an uneasy feeling whenever I enter the restaurant. Walking around in that neighborhood is not any better. I start to panic and I get extremely nervous and start to speed walk to wherever I’m going. Dr. Mirna Ballestas, a clinical psychologist with Sinai Health System on Chicago’s west side, says that there is a program in the clinic that is called under the rainbow and it treated 1,700 patience in 2015 that had trauma. That is only from that clinic yet there are many more out there that experience this.

It has been said that people purchase guns for protection. One argument made my Kevin Yan, a University of Chicago student, has is that gun ownership is a critical American tradition because he feels very strongly about the second amendment. Like Kevin Yan, others may argue that the constitution allows citizens to have guns in their possession by saying A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Meaning everyone has the rights to bear arms. Now, I am not trying to stop the selling of guns completely, I agree with the constitution saying that a person has a right to bear arms but if they anyone is going to bear arms then it has to be for protection or for hunting purposes. On the other hand, according to Mike Maharrey, the constitution actually is not to ensure that people can always go hunting. He says the constitution has been misunderstood by people. He said the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to ensure the people would always have the means to match the firepower of a federal army. It was intended to ensure the people could resist tyrannical government with force in the last resort meaning it is not an individual right to own firearms. Since the second amendment has been seen as an individual right for has not been understood, citizens are now allowed to carry firearms. I believe If people do decide to purchase guns because it is their right then they should be allowed to. When the fire arm is purchases however, the owner should store it in a safe way and they must keep it somewhere hidden where they only know of. That way, not just anyone can grab it and mess with it because they can have an accidental shooting.

All in all, changes need to be made in Chicago. It is not fair to those who lose their lives because of the actions of others. It is also not fair to those who suffer from their experience with gun violence. There needs to be a limit in the amount of guns that are sold. These changes in gun laws would make the crime rate in Chicago decrease drastically and it needs to happen.

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Chicago's Gun Laws. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from