Chicago’s inner city and suburbs have been known for their excessive violence, with reaching numbers so high it’s been nicknamed Chi-Raq, due to the homicide rate and deteriorating environment being compared to the streets of Iraq.

The City of Chicago has been known to, while having some of the highest crime rates in the United States, have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. With criminals being the ones to have the only simple, untraceable access to obtaining firearms, the general population of the area owns few weapons. Lawful citizens do not purchase illegal firearms because should one be discovered, or it is used in self-defence, the individual can be charged with illegal firearm possession. This leads to black market firearms being more accessible to citizens and criminals alike, than legal traceable firearms. This is mostly due to low socioeconomic status rendering them unable to process all the necessary documentation, and the considerably high amount of taxes the County charges for the paperwork, firearm purchases, and ammunition purchases. Families and lawful individuals, as a result, are unable to defend themselves from violence caused by those who possess illegal weapons.

As of September 25th, 2018, there have been 418 homicides in the city during the year 2018. It seems politicians who are trying to heavily restrict the right to legally possess a firearm, have not caught onto the fact that according to a study conducted by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average number of inmates that illegally obtained firearms used in crimes reached on average 79% in the most gun restrictive areas such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

The issue is that while most firearms used in crimes are illegally acquired, people who try to use firearms to defend themselves and their families are faced with a dilemma. Owning a firearm legally is difficult for the low-income families due to heavy restrictions that make it difficult for someone of a lower economic standing to purchase a weapon. They can sacrifice a substantial amount of their income to be able to protect their homes, or be unarmed and put themselves at risk. Unfortunately, most are unable to do so, and criminals are aware of this. Unarmed victims must hope for a rapid response time from police, which due to the high volume of crime, is rarely the case.

The average police response time in Chicago can take up to 6.1 minutes, which compared to other cities, is significantly longer and can be detrimental to the subject calling for emergency services. Areas of the United States, where firearms have been more accessible, especially in States like Texas and Arizona, have seen a drastically lower crime rate due to armed citizens having the capability to defend their lives, property, and families, contrasted to Chicago, where lawful citizens cannot do the same, the results can be seen as the homicide toll piles up.

By Mike Klusa and Damien Taylor