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Chicago Thu May 27 2010

Gun Control Supporters Consider Breaking City's Handgun Ban

In the very neighborhood where Officer Thomas Wortham was murdered (that neighborhood being covered heavily at The Sixth Ward) we see a movement by residents to want to arm themselves. To be sure, there are those who, in spite of the handgun ban, own handguns anyway. This is sure to put another dent into Mayor Daley's attempts to continue this handgun ban:

In middle class black neighborhoods like Chatham, people have voted overwhelmingly for Democratic politicians who have overwhelmingly supported gun control.

But now many are scared and angry over the killing of Officer Wortham, late Wednesday night in Chatham.

"I would say the most recent incident here in Chatham has such a profound impact on people's consciousness about violence, about crime in the streets, that people who would not normally want to own a gun, are considering that," said Robinson.

In that neighborhood, many residents have told CS 2 News off camera that they are willing to begin carrying a gun to protect themselves, even if it means breaking the ban on handguns.

Coy Pugh, a former state representative and lobbyist for the Illinois Rifle Association, said he knows why even law-abiding citizens might arm themselves.

"In the community that I grew up in, they say it's better for the police to catch me with it than the robber to catch me without it," said Pugh.

And that concerns people like Linda Williams, who believes more guns in the community will make matter worse.

"All the other industrialized nations do not have the gun laws that we have and they don't have nearly the amount of killing and injury we do," she said. "So, no, I don't believe that more guns is better."

Those in favor of gun control point out that even though Wortham had a weapon and so did his father, a retired police sergeant, the young officer still ended up shot and killed.

But those on the other side of the argument believe criminals are less likely to approach someone in the first place, or break into a home, if they think the would-be victim might be carrying a gun.

I generally think people should be allowed to have a weapon at home. Obviously the argument about criminals being hesitant to break into anyone's home if they believe that person is armed.

Still, let's address the concern of Ms. Williams. It's fine that she believes that more guns isn't the answer, however, I would like to see a justification. Alas this was also a TV news story so all we get is a soundbite/quote. I would like to know what stats she has on the amount of killings and injuries as a result of guns.

BTW, the other point made about the officer who did fire shots at his assailants before he was eventually shot and killed makes sense too. While I do support and individual's right to carry a gun we should always be mindful of the dangers. Perhaps instead of banning guns then we should educate people on all the dangers of guns.

Hopefully the people in power in Chicago will bear that in mind whenever the US Supreme Court rules on our city gun ban.

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DinTex / May 27, 2010 1:16 PM

Comparing the "hot" burglary in Great Britain with the US, one can find that over half of burglaries in GB are conducted with the flat/house occupant inside. Stats in the US show around 13%. (see FBI stats, Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York, 1997 and a science poster from Arizona Law Review, Summer 2001, Symposium on Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America, *345, LAWYERS, GUNS, AND BURGLARS).
Those 13% might be low, because burglars in the US know that they could get shot. Similarly, there are stats that show that soft targets (i.e. won't fight back) are preferred by criminals.
Go and allow concealed carry and guns in lawful ownership.

Max / May 28, 2010 12:09 PM

"Perhaps instead of banning guns then we should educate people on all the dangers of guns."

People are already aware of the danger of guns -- they kill other people. Fighting fire with fire creates more fire.

Regarding more people carrying guns acting as a deterrent, we already know that favored targets are not big men who look like they'll be carrying a gun -- as now, they'll be those who look least likely to defend themselves: small women, nervous kids. Unless every single person carries a gun, and is willing to use it, the argument falls flat.

jfh / May 31, 2010 7:23 PM

Max's contention that unless everyone carries a gun else the bad guys will attack simply doesn't hold water. It's time to review your notes on Skinnerian conditioning, Max.

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