Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Indiana Guns in Chicago

NWI.com reports on the source data released showing that guns used in crime in Chicago for the most part come from Indiana.

Illinois and Chicago maintain some stiff gun laws, but recently released federal statistics suggest a lot of guns seized last year by police in Illinois came from a source beyond the reach of those laws: Indiana.

The relationship seems intuitive, said Chicago-based Special Agent Thomas Ahern of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The states share a border, and Chicago contains no gun stores.

Ahern said it would be hard to deny the connection between what the ATF calls "source states" and weaker gun laws. Any gun that ends up pointed at a gas station clerk or tucked into a felon's pants could once be found on a store shelf, Ahern noted.

"All guns throughout the United States start out legal. Somewhere down the road, they become illegal," Ahern said.

That makes sense, doesn't it? Guns start out as legally owned products and somewhere along the line end up in the hands of criminals.

The stats show Indiana was, by far, the leading out-of-state supplier of guns recovered by police in Illinois in 2008, then traced by the ATF to a "source state," the last state in which the gun was legally sold.

Actually, this presents a bit of a problem. Given the lax gun laws throughout the country, it is not really possible to know "the last state in which the gun was legally sold." To know that we would have to require background checks and registration of all private sales of guns as well as those from licensed gun dealers. The way it works now, there could be a number of totally legal transfers of a gun done privately with no records whatsoever. This is a problem.

But the main point of the article seems clear. States with lax gun laws like Indiana are the source of guns in places like Chicago where the laws are strict. This is also a problem and the solution is obvious.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. "Given the lax gun laws throughout the country, it is not really possible to know 'the last state in which the gun was legally sold.'"

    Wrong. It is already federal law that all legal gun transfers between states require a federally licensed dealer and an FBI background check.

    You already have what you are asking for so now I assume you will want more. And you wonder why we believe in the theory of incremental-ism.

    Guns go from legally owned guns to illegally owned guns when someone breaks the law. In the case of Illinois and Indiana it is already against the law to transfer from Indiana to Illinois without a federally licensed dealer on each side of the transfer and an FBI background check on the buyer. Guess what? Gun control doesn't work.

  2. It makes sense, but some people just won't see sense if it disagrees with their world view.

    "It's turtles all the way down, young man!"

  3. Prohibition has always created demand. Prohibition has always created crime, not prevented it.

  4. Places like Chicago with low legal gun ownership rates have high crime rates. Indiana has a much lower crime rate, but a 5% concealed carry license rate. The solution is obvious.

    The only statistics I've seen on the original method of diversion said that over 80% of crime guns were stolen. It kind of makes sense that Chicago criminals don't steal them from Nevada.

  5. Wow, 80% are stolen. I thought it was more from sloppy transfers and less from theft, but whatever. Indiana needs to have stricter gun control and fewer guns in order to help Chicago. If the 80% figure is correct, then somehow those gun owners have to learn to hold on to their guns, don't you think?

    Sevesteen, have you ever had a gun stolen from you? It doesn't seem all that difficult to prevent. What do you think?

  6. "then somehow those gun owners have to learn to hold on to their guns"

    You mean like wearing it on their person instead of leaving it unattended at home or in the car?

  7. I don't take the 80% as gospel, it is from a single pro-gun source without attribution. I think it is likely, however.

    Never had a gun stolen, never had a burglary. I have had things stolen from my car, so I avoid leaving guns there unless the choice is to be without a gun at all. There are some gun owners who should take more care to prevent theft, but "safe storage" laws don't take individual situations into account, and they shift the blame from the real criminal to an easier to prosecute person.

  8. but whatever. Indiana needs to have stricter gun control and fewer guns in order to help Chicago.

    It's not Indiana's fault Chicago has a violent criminal problem. Chicago needs to get it's own house in order and quit blaming its neighboring state.

    If guns are the problem then why is Indiana, a state awash with guns and lax gun control seeing only a fraction of the violent crime of Chicago, where guns are banned?

    Access to guns is far greater in Indiana, yet it's Illinois that has the crime problem. Given that it is mindbogglingly moronic for you to try and blame Indiana for Chicago's crime problems.

  9. Sevesteen, You yourself have never lost a gun to theft. How about your immediate circle of gun-owning friends? What about a wider circle of people you just hear about?

    Does the 80% really sound plausible to you? It doesn't to me.