Last night on The Kelly File, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul discussed the recent and ongoing rash of violence in the Windy City. Paul, who was in town for a school choice event, explained that the violence problem in Chicago goes far beyond guns and comes from a lack of leadership, education and guidance for young people in certain parts of the city. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (like Barack Obama) is an opponent of school choice, which allows kids to get out of miserable, failing schools in violent neighborhoods. But thanks to Emanuel's solid support for teacher's unions, instead of being able to pursue a future through educational choice, teenagers are trapped in worthless, hopeless schools. Due to a lack of opportunity, they join gangs.
Gang initiations typically require a violent act. Those violent acts usually involve guns that were purchased or stolen illegally by gang members and then are used in crimes (again illegal). When guns aren't purchased illegally on the street, they're brought into the city illegally. As Megyn Kelly points out in her introduction, all gun sales in Chicago are already banned, yet the Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy (and Emanuel) is still blaming a lack of gun control for the violence. He admits murders by gunshot wound are higher in Chicago than the national average, but fails to acknowledge that the rest of the country has less stringent gun control laws. In fact, states and cities with fewer gun control laws and more concealed carry permit holders have lower crime rates.
But not only are McCarthy and Emanuel's calls for more gun control unproductive, they're also out of touch with the people who live in the communities being affected the most. Since the ban on concealed carry in Illinois was struck down in December 2012, residents from Chicago's south side have been flocking to classes to learn about how to protect themselves. The Reader recently did a feature story, Dismantling the Stigma of Guns, profiling Gerald Vernon, a long time Second Amendment advocate and firearms instructor living in Chicago's south side.
Gerald Vernon believes conceal-and-carry laws and responsible firearm owners are crucial to keeping people safe—especially in the communities hit hardest by crime.The first lesson Gerald Vernon shared with his conceal-and-carry class is, to him, the most fundamental: "The only thing that stops bad people with guns is good people with guns."
His ten students—eight men and two women, all African-Americans—were listening intently. They had gathered in a meeting room at a south-side social service center to learn about gun ownership and self-defense from Vernon, a veteran firearms instructor who was seated at the front of the room next to a table set with an array of revolvers and semiautomatic handguns from his collection.
The students didn't appear to need any convincing. "I'm interested in protection," explained Thomas Brandon, 57, when it was his turn to introduce himself. The others said they were there for the same reason.
Last week, Chicago Magazine published an investigative story alleging McCarthy and Emanuel were cooking the books on "decreasing" crime rates.