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On April 17th, an Uber driver shot and wounded a man who had opened fire on a crowd along Milwaukee Avenue.
On April 7th, an 8-year-old boy was shot by another 8-year-old while playing inside of an apartment. On April 22nd, a 5-year-old girl was shot in the arm. On April 28th, a man cleaning his gun shot himself in the knee…
Between April 1st and May 4th, I can find one instance of defensive gun use in Chicago. In that same span of time, I can find seven instances of individuals accidentally injured by guns.
When it comes to the Uber driver, I have no problem with his actions. He had a concealed-carry permit and acted responsibly in an intense and dangerous situation. I can understand why people want to applaud him — I do too.
But the actions of one responsible gun owner don’t mean a damn thing when stacked up against all of Chicago’s gun violence.
In my eyes, it’s extraordinarily irresponsible to use that single instance of gun use as a political statement. After the Uber driver’s actions, many articles were happy to sensationalize the situation to push a pro-gun agenda. But focusing on that single instance ignores the whole picture, which is overwhelmingly violent with few positive stories.
Going back to the beginning of 2015, the Gun Violence Archive lists 2 instances of defensive gun use in Chicago. This pales in comparison to the rest of the city’s gun violence, which includes…
No, friend, I’m not worried about an Uber driver who knows how to responsibly use a firearm — I’m worried about everyone else.
You could try to counter these numbers by saying some of these victims could have been heroes if they had been legally carrying a handgun, but I’m not exactly convinced. Saying that all legal gun owners can successfully draw their firearm and thwart criminals with ease doesn’t only seem fantastical, it’s contrary to the multiple instances where gun owners failed to do just that.
The fact is, despite a history of harsh gun laws, Chicago has a lot of guns. Too many guns. With relaxed gun laws in many neighboring states, it’s been too easy for guns to end up in our city. Guns aren’t the sole factor in violence in Chicago, but to say they don’t have an effect seems ignorant in the face of gun violence statistics.
“But these are criminals causing this violence!” I can hear some of you screaming at the monitor, despite the high number of accidental gun injuries.
So what the heck do you mean by that? That gun laws across the nation haven’t allowed guns to easily and intentionally be trafficked to criminals in Chicago? That these criminals — being criminals and all — have stolen these guns?
Personally, I think gun laws, as they currently stand across the country, are easy to take advantage of. But, I’ll entertain the idea that these crimes are committed with legitimately stolen firearms. This leaves us with a scary prospect: thousands of gun owners are so irresponsible, they can’t stop thieves from stealing their firearms.
How is that better?