Late last week some actual good news about violent crime came out of the great city of Chicago: the homicide rate for the first three months of the year fell to the lowest level of any first quarter since 1958. There were six fewer homicides than in the first quarter of 2013, and 55 fewer than the same period of 2012. What accounts for this significant drop? Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy cited more intelligent police training and activities, more community programs keeping kids off the streets, and the seizure of 1,300 illegal guns since the beginning of the year. Some blog commenters we saw attributed it partly to the face-melting Chicago winter being even more face-meltingly brutal than normal. But America’s gun-fondling wingnuts know the real reason: Illinois passed a concealed-carry law last summer and now Johnny Thug will think twice about messing with potentially armed, freedom-defending citizens!
“Illinois Gets Concealed Carry, Chicago’s Murder Total Plummets Immediately” trumpeted the Second Amendment fetishists at Bearing Arms. “Chicago Enacts Concealed Carry; Murder Rate Promptly Falls to 1958 Level” enthused the rabid ferrets of Townhall. “Can We Credit the New Conceal Carry Law in Chicago for Reduced Homicide Rate?” asked Pajamas Media’s aptly named Rick Moran before he cited a whole bunch of reasons why the CCW law probably didn’t deserve credit, but finished up by telling his readers not to discount it. Good save, Moran! On Twitter, some of our favorites, like Ol’ Perfesser Instapundit and Dana Loesch, were uncritically citing some of these stories as if they are gospel truth.
But then here are some facts that one had to go beyond the headlines to note. For one, this was the sixth consecutive quarter in which violent crime in Chicago has dropped, which means the trend started well before the Illinois legislature passed concealed carry. For another, the city of Chicago did not start handing out concealed carry permits until the end of February (and already yanked one idiot’s permit because he thought having a concealed carry permit meant he could wave his gun at anyone he was arguing with). Chicagoans have been legally packing heat for one month during an eighteen-month downward trend in the overall crime rate, so of course the wingnuts are interpreting it as, “We’ve got the thugs and gun grabbers on the run!”
I think the extreme weather had more to do with it than anything else.