NATIONAL (BTSNews) Jan. 14, 2013 -- This morning in Chicago, a 28 year-old Forest Park man was shot and killed near the Eisenhower expressway. The victim was shot following an argument with another motorist at a nearby gas station, and police found his body inside a minivan parked on the side of the road. Police have no suspects and the victim's identity has not been disclosed pending notification of the man's next of kin.
This shooting is but a continuation of gun violence this past weekend in Chicago. On Sunday, January 13, a 17 year-old teenage male was shot and wounded in the West Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, while a 22 year-old adult male was shot in the back and killed as he sat in a car earlier that day in the Lawndale section of Chicago. On Friday, Jan. 11, a 14 year-old boy was killed by gunfire while standing on his porch by two armed assailants. Earlier on Friday, a 15 year-old was shot and killed in the West Side Lawndale neighborhood. Four other teenagers, ages 16 to 19, were wounded by gunfire on Friday in the Chatham, Auburn Gresham and Uptown neighborhoods. No suspects have been taken into custody in any of these shootings, and no allegations of assault weapons or high capacity magazines have been reported.
BEHIND THE SCENES, these shootings -- as well as the nearly other 80 shootings in Chicago since the first of the year -- have contributed to the city's 23 homicides. Despite, Chicago's strict gun laws -- so strict that they were recently declared unconstitutional by a federal judge -- the Chicago homicide rate is already outpacing the first weeks of 2012, and is on pace to exceed 730 deaths this year. Notably, none of the Chicago shooting incidents involve the political hot buttons of assault weapons, or high capacity magazines.
Thus, as the national gun control debate continues in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings -- particularly as they concern assault weapons and high capacity magazines -- some residents of Chicago note that:
Gun control policies don’t work because they disarm citizens while keeping criminals in possession of guns. Chicago’s strict policies have effectively given lawbreakers a monopoly on weapons in many parts of the city that the Chicago Police Department cannot or will not police effectively.
Others argue that local gun control laws cannot be effective unless meaningful national gun control legislation is also enacted:
Only a national gun control policy can keep guns off the streets of Chicago. After a crazed gunman killed 34 people in Tasmania in 1996, Australia enacted strict gun control laws -- and the firearm death rate dropped 59 percent in the next decade.
In the United States, however, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that while the number of guns -- including assault weapons -- in the U.S. increased by 61% since 1994, the number of firearm homicides in the U.S. decreased by 58%. Moreover, the current gun control debate -- being framed exclusively around assault weapons, high capacity magazines and more stringent background checks -- do not address the rampant criminal gun violence in Chicago, where none of the shootings this year involved assault weapons, high capacity magazines or background checks.
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