Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chicago crime rate declines as CCW applications rise, says report by Dave Workman

“The Washington Times yesterday reported that the crime rate has dropped in Chicago since Illinois adopted a concealed carry licensing system, a change in stature that was forced on the legislature by a pair of lawsuits that included the Second Amendment Foundation’s Moore v. Madigan.[*]

“The other lawsuit, Shepherd v. Madigan, was filed by the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling applied to both cases. It is doubtful that either SAF or the NRA will be credited with forcing the state to adopt a law that appears to be contributing to a decline in Windy City crime.

“According to the Washington Times report, ‘the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.’

Politico is quoting Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this morning [August 25], asserting that the Windy City is not the nation’s ‘murder capital.’ That story also cites a lower homicide count this year than reported in 2013. The story also points to Chicago Police Department statistics showing homicides down seven percent from last year at this time and 20 percent from the same period in 2010. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the city is the safest it has been in a half-century.

“The Washington Times report quotes Richard Pearson, executive director of the 30,000-member Illinois State Rifle Association. ISRA partnered with SAF on the landmark McDonald v. City of Chicago case that incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, and with the NRA on the Shepard case.

“Pearson told Examiner Monday morning that the decline in crime actually started when lawmakers began seriously discussing concealed carry. In the Washington Times piece, he said, ‘It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect.’ He stands by that statement...

“While it is unlikely Mayor Emanuel or Supt. McCarthy, or any anti-gun-rights organization will give even token credit to the notion that concealed carry laws are a crime deterrent, the revelation is not lost on gun rights activists who will gather in Chicago next month. It is less likely that either the mayor or his top cop will attend GRPC, but it might make for a lively discussion if they did.”

This article is from the Examiner.

* [Plaintiffs challenged an Illinois law that forbid carrying a gun ready to use (loaded, immediately accessible, uncased), with exceptions for police, security personnel, hunters, members of target shooting clubs, a person on his own property, in his home, in his fixed place of business, or on the property of someone who has permitted him to be there with a ready-to-use gun, 720 ILCS 5/24-2. Carrying an unloaded gun in public, uncased and immediately accessible, is prohibited, other than excepted persons, unless carried openly outside a vehicle in an unincorporated area and ammunition is not immediately accessible. The district court dismissed, holding that the Second Amendment does not create a right of self-defense outside the home. The Seventh Circuit reversed, but stayed its mandate for 180 days to allow the legislature to draft new restrictions. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside. Evidence, although inconclusive, is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois failed to provide more than merely a rational basis for believing that its sweeping ban was justified by increased public safety (Moore v. Madigan)]. 

Commentary: Cause and Effect/ Gun Control Laws 

“…Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low…

“A July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent…” (The Washington Times).

It is difficult to establish a causal relationship between two events. In this case, we have a conceal carry licensing program (cause?) and a reduction of crime (effect?). Though it is easy to mistake correlation for cause, to establish a causal association, there must be a correlation and temporal connection in their occurrence. Though there appears to be one, at most, this connection between cause and effect is not necessary but probabilistic. My assumption is there is not one probable cause, but perhaps a few causes that are responsible for the decline in the Chicago crime rate.  

At issue here (and more importantly) is the fact that there are an estimated 270 - 300 million firearms already in circulation in the U.S. This makes it impossible for gun control laws to have any effect on reducing violent crimes. Instead of legislating more gun control laws, shouldn’t we focus upon and address the evident causes of violent crimes: mental illness, racism, economic injustice, poverty, unemployment, gang activity, drug trafficking, and inefficient law enforcement in high-crime areas?

Until that happens, “The best policy goal to pursue may be to [continue to shift] the distribution of gun possession as far as possible in the direction of likely aggressors being disarmed, with as few prospective victims as possible being disarmed. To disarm non-criminals [through more gun control laws] in the hope that this might indirectly help reduce access to guns among criminals is a very high-stakes gamble, and the risks will not be reduced by pretending that crime victims rarely use guns for self-defense” (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control). 

Gun control laws do not reduce crimes. Instead, they deprive law-abiding citizens of a means for contingent crucial protection until the police arrive too late.


  1. Perhaps one of the causes underlying the recent decline in Chicago crime is Jackie Robinson West!