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New York Times Maps Where Chicago Gets Its Guns

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 30, 2013 3:00PM

Photo credit: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

How does Chicago suffer from the most rampant gun violence in the country despite having some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws? Last August the University of Chicago Crime Lab released a report that showed most of the guns came from shops right outside the city limits, but that firearms reached the city from every state in the union and even as far away as Guam.

The New York Times took the data from that report and mapped them—over 50,000 successful Chicago Police Department traces of guns seized between 2001 and last year. The data also revealed hints of a “Dixie Pipeline” between Chicago and Mississippi, possibly fostered by family ties established by the Great Migration of the 20th Century.

The map and accompanying article highlights the debate over gun control, in Chicago and across the country. Gun rights lobbyists argue the ease with which firearms enter Chicago, despite the city banning high capacity magazine clips and assault weapons and not having gun shops in the city, is the most glaring example of why gun control legislation doesn’t work. Advocates for tougher gun laws argue this is an indication of why there needs to be stricter federal regulations that supersede the state and local laws on the books.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the nature of gun laws in surrounding Cook County helps facilitate the flow of guns to Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Times.

“Our gun strategy is only as strong as it is comprehensive, and it is constantly being undermined by events and occurrences happening outside the city — gun shows in surrounding counties, weak gun laws in neighboring states like Indiana and the inability to track purchasing,” Mr. Emanuel said. “This must change.”