A few days ago, President Obama went on PBS Newshour to do an interview and a town hall meeting in Indiana. Taking bonus questions from the audience following the broadcast, one of the most interesting interactions was his answer to a question regarding gun control. The full conversation is worth a watch, and you can do so either below or at the link here.
The audience member asking about gun control elaborates on his question by referencing the gun violence in Chicago. Despite being under Democratic-control and having some of the strictest gun laws in the country, he points out that it also has some of the highest homicide rates in the country, a frequent argument on how gun control legislation does not work.
However, stating that Chicago's laws have simply failed ignores one crucial factor:
Your Friendly Neighborhood Arms Dealer
Let's do a logic problem: How do you get guns if its illegal?
Easy: get it from somewhere where it's not. Specifically, Indiana.
Private sales of guns in the Hoosier state are not recorded, do not require a background check, and is cheaper than buying them in Illinois. If you're an Indiana resident, all you need to provide a state ID, name, and address in case the weapon is used in a crime. In two hours, guns can easily be trafficked across the border from a Indiana gun show or private sale to gang members on Chicago's south side.
What few measures Indiana does have are easy to scam. In one infamous case, a man simply used fake Indiana driver licenses to buy duffel bags of 9 millimeter and 40-caliber handguns to sell for profit back in Illinois. In less than 48 hours, he had delivered 43 guns to a man with ties to the Gangsters Disciples, a major gang on Chicago's south side.
These are not just sporadic cases either. In one investigation, an investigation by a Chicago news team found that from 2008 to 2014, 3,824 guns taken off Chicago gangbangers that were used in crimes came from Indiana. Another study by the New York Times saw that in 2014 alone, 1041 guns used in crimes were traced back to Illinois' neighbor.
Granted, violence in Chicago has other major factors at play, including socio-economics, gentrification, the prevalence of gangs and organized crime, etc. However, other states need to take a hard look at the affects of their gun legislation on their neighbors. To simply say that Chicago's gun laws have failed is victim blaming at its core.