I witnessed in the early Nineties a 9 year old boy being held for the police in a principal’s office in the now gone Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago. At the time it was one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the nation for youth gang violence. On the desk in front of the restrained boy was a loaded snub-nosed .38.
A year later, I entered a building in Cabrini Green with a gang member that I’d gained the trust of. As white and an outsider I had to be “vetted” by the gang to enter the building to view first hand the living conditions there. One of the members at the vestibule door lifted his shirt to show a pistol in his waiste band, a not-so-subtle threat. I guessed the kid to be about 14.
Gangs like kids. They don’t do the same hard time mostly, and can be moulded to be good and obedient soldiers for the gangs. Children and teens are dying in disproportionate numbers on Chicago streets: 42 as of January 31st.
3 and 1. In Illinois, there is a 3 day waiting period for handguns, 1 day for shotguns and rifles.
0. The waiting period when purchasing a gun at a gun shows.
$29.95. The cost of a kit that changes a semi-automatic weapon into fully automatic in just a few minutes.
110 guns. That is the number one straw buyer put on the streets of Chicago in one 16 month period
20. The number of those guns recovered in actual crimes.
22,660. Illegal guns recovered in Chicago last year.
600. James Ryan, holder of a Federal Firearms license (FFL) sold 600 guns to gang members in the Englewood neighborhood last year.
$30. The cost of his license.
$98. The cost of my parking sticker for the city of Chicago.
120,370. Number of guns used in crimes traced to FFL holders.
8%. The ATF says “8% of the nation’s 124,000 gun dealers sell the majority of guns that are used in crimes,” representing thousands of guns.
5%. That’s the number of guns arrestees stole. They paid cash for 56%, 10% were a gift and 10% were borrowed.
10-15%. ATF assessment on total number of stolen guns that are used in a crime.
1,000. Gun-related prosecutions, 486 straw purchases were clearly identified from available court filings.
60%. The time, the trafficker and straw purchaser entered the store together
100%. Police who shop at gun stores and gun fairs.
55%. Guns used in the 13,000 annual average suicides in America.
13. The number of years since any meanful gun violence study has been done.
0. The times that mental illness was mentioned as an important consideration for sensible gun laws in this piece, despite the fiction of the “demented,” “insane,” or “crazy,” people proliferated by the gun-lobby, pro-gun media and NRA.
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