Chicago: Gun Laws Are Working. For Now. Ish. Detroit? Not So Much

This morning, The Detroit Free Press reports that Chicago Police Chief Warren Evans is declaring a victory in the war against crime. For the first quarter of the year. Compared to last year. Whilst warning that it will get worse in the summer. The Motor City’s main man claims homicides are down 16 percent for January through March; 60 murders vs. 80. And why would that be? “He credited the decline, in part, to an aggressive anti-gun campaign that has taken more than 1,000 illegal firearms off the streets this year.” And the other part?

Evans said officers in those areas keep watch for suspicious activity, often stopping motorists for minor traffic violations who turn out to have warrants for arrests or illegal firearms in their vehicles. Such a stop over the weekend led to the arrests of three men wearing surgical gloves and packing illegal handguns. ‘Clearly, the surgical gloves with the guns were designed not to leave prints,’ Evans said [dismissing the possibility that the suspects were part of an unauthorized germ phobic shooting club].

But then,

“There are a lot of people in the gangster game now who weren’t in it five years ago,” said Evans, who added that summer months are historically more violent than winter months.”

Meanwhile, over in Chicago . . .

Last month, Attorney Maureen Martin, the Heartland Institute lawyer who wrote Heartland’s amicus brief in the Supreme Court McDonald case, presented her long view take on Detroit’s crime scene in The Detroit News.

The number of murders committed with guns has soared in Chicago since the ordinance was enacted, as has the share of all murders committed with guns. In 1983, the first year the Chicago ordinance was in effect, 290 murders (39.78 percent of the total) were committed with handguns. That rose to 513 murders (60.21 percent) committed with handguns in 1990. In 2003, 442 murders (73.54 percent) were committed with handguns, and in 2008, 402 handgun murders were committed (78.67 percent).

In the 25 years since Chicago’s handgun ban was enacted, the number of murders committed with handguns dropped below 1983 levels in only four years (1984-87).

In 1983, just over 16 percent of the murders in the city were committed by individuals under 21 armed with guns, according to CPD statistics. By 1990 that percentage rose to 24.5 percent.

In 1995 the share of murders committed by people aged 14 to 25 with any weapon rose to 72.4 percent, an all-time high. (Youth gun murders were not reported separately in police department analyses after 1990.) In 2008 the percentage of murders committed by individuals in that age group was 56.3 percent, according to police department data.

Gun control or no control, it’s not a pretty picture.