Drum roll please: Chicago somehow managed to make it through the Labor Day weekend with fewer dead bodies than last year, so that’s the good news.
The bad news is that the body count is still climbing toward year’s end, with about four full months to make up the deficit.
According to CBS News in Chicago, between 11 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Tuesday, the Windy City saw 35 people wounded in shootings. That’s down 30 percent from last year’s Labor Day weekend, and homicides were down 46 percent.
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Perhaps Chicago Police cracked a code by rounding up “troublemakers” before the holiday weekend started, and putting 1,300 more cops on the streets for the three-day end-of-summer observance. (Summer doesn’t really end until later this month.)
According to the website dnainfo.com, of the 463 people murdered so far this year in Chicago, 425 were shot. Gun control proponents will toss this out as an argument for even tighter restrictions on legal gun ownership and concealed carry in particular.
But balance that argument against Washington State statistics. More people have been murdered so far this year in Chicago than the entire state of Washington, as it is every year in recent memory.
As of Aug. 31, there were 589,670 active concealed pistol licenses in Washington, more than 100,000 of them in King County, which encompasses Seattle.
According to the gunstocarry.com website, Washington has more than twice the number of carry licenses as does Illinois. In August alone, more than 2,720 CPLs were issued, according to the state Department of Licensing.
Does this contrast mean anything? Maybe not, but it does demonstrate that more legal gun owners does not immediately translate to more violence, an argument that gun prohibitionists have been using for many years. If it was just about guns, the Evergreen State would be bloody red. So would Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida, each with more than 1 million active carry permits/licenses.
The brutal reality is that people doing the shooting in Chicago are not law-abiding, are not legally licensed to carry, and most likely wouldn’t pass a background check to legally purchase a firearm.
Chicago is the murder capital of the nation, and the irony is that this is the city that had a virtual ban on handgun ownership for three decades. It had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century by court cases filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, Illinois State Rifle Association and others. Ditto the State of Illinois, where the Legislature had to be forced by federal court rulings to adopt a concealed carry statute.
Criminals don’t play by the rules, but at least now the law-abiding citizens have some semblance of a level playing field. Whether that will help deter the violence remains to be seen. But police doing a “round-up” of “troublemakers” seems to have had an effect.