Chicago, IL -- Inside the city limits of Chicago, not a single gun shop can be found -- they've been outlawed. With is nearly 3 million residents, Chicago has the most stringent gun laws in the nation.
Gun laws were so strict, in fact, that in 2010, the US Supreme Court interveined saying the law was going to far. However, city lawmakers were able to "keep the ban" without "legally keeping the ban."
The ban on assault rifles, a high-capacity magazine ban, and nowhere to purchase ammo makes Chicago one of the toughest places in the country to obtain a serviceable and firing weapon, legally.
With these strict laws, how on earth are there still guns in Chicago?
Gun violence in Chicago over the weekend reached near war zone proportions with 82 people being shot between 4 p.m. Thursday and 3:30 a.m. Monday morning. 15 of these shootings were fatal. Tragically, even a 7-year-old child's life was taken by one of these bullets.
On Monday, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy blamed the shootings on the fact that people were getting too many guns.
"It all comes down to guns. Too many guns coming in, too little punishment going out," said McCarthy.
But how is this possible since guns are basically banned in Chicago? Is the law failing to stop criminals from breaking it? How could that be?
Of course, there are two sides to this debacle. Gun rights advocates state the obvious when they say that restricting the possession of guns only keeps guns out of the hands of people who actually listen to the law.
But on the other side, the gun controllers would like to see even stricter laws across the nation to stop the flow of guns into Chicago.
“Chicago is like a house with two parents that may try to have good rules and do what they can, but it’s like you’ve got this single house sitting on a whole block where there’s anarchy,” said the Rev. Ira J. Acree, one among a group of pastors here who have marched and gathered signatures for an end to so much shooting. “Chicago is an argument for laws that are statewide or, better yet, national.”
Unfortunately, Acree's sentiment is a popular notion among those who would take away the ability of people to defend themselves. The incredibly flawed logic behind the reverend's statement and others like him is a common misconception.
Gun control advocates are saying that since this approach has miserably failed on a local level, if we just apply it to the entire nation, then it would somehow magically work.
But they are wrong.
Recommended for You
Of course, a society without guns sounds fantastic and in a perfect utopian world, it would be nice not to need a gun. However, we do not live in utopia.
As John Locke stated, self-defense is the first law of nature. Each person owns his or her own life and no other person has a right to take that life. Those who would attempt to stop you from defending yourself, are attacking the very right from which all other rights are derived, protection of one's own life.
What advocates of gun control really mean when they say they want to ban guns is that they only want the government to have guns. After all, who would enforce the ban on guns, and how would it be enforced -- without guns?
Instead of attacking the hundred and fifty million people in America who legally own guns and who don't go around shooting children, we should look at the reason that causes people to kill one another.
Contrary to the fear mongering, most murders are not committed by law-abiding gun owners who snap and grab the nearest gun. Studies show that the majority of murders committed are by those who already have a criminal record. Whatsmore, a significant percentage of the victims have criminal records themselves.
So what's causing all these shootings? The answer to that question is far too complicated to cover in a single article. However, we can examine one of the main contributing factors. The War on Drugs.
When the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the black markets. All the while, demand remains constant.
We can look at the prohibition of alcohol and the subsequent mafia crime wave that ensued as a result.
Criminal gangs form to protect sales territory and supply lines. They then monopolize the control of the constant demand. Their entire operation is dependent upon police arresting people for drugs. However, the illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems.
This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism. Recidivism is a fundamental concept of criminal justice that shows the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.
The War on Drugs creates criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is setup in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.
The system knows this too.
When drugs are legalized, gang violence drops -- drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels too.
Until Americans educate themselves on the cause of this violence, uninformed and corrupt lawmakers will continue to focus on controlling the symptoms.
We will see more senseless killings and more innocent lives stripped of opportunity by getting entangled in the system. It is high time we end the war on drugs.