The Trace: More Bullets, Less Homicides?

Collection of Chicago "crime guns" (courtesy thetrace.org)

“A new Chicago Sun-Times investigation into the city’s deaths by gun has a stunning statistic at its heart: not only did the city’s 2016 murder count rise to its highest level in 19 years,” thetrace.org reports, “but fatal gunshot victims were also hit by nearly twice as many bullets as victims were during the early ’90s violent crime epidemic.” That would be an awesome stat for The Trace’s crusade for ammunition magazine capacity laws! Only . . .

It’s out-of-date. For 2017, cnn.com reports that . . .

Chicago saw nearly a 16% decline in murders in 2017 from the previous year, according to statistics released in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

In 2017, the city had 2,785 shooting incidents and 3,457 shooting victims, which was a decrease from the 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,349 shooting victims in 2016, according to the newly released statistics.

I think it’s safe to conclude that the number of bullets fired by a Chicago gang banger isn’t relevant to the Windy City’s firearms-related death toll. Which kinda pulls the rug from under Alex Yablon’s story. Still, the increasing round count is interesting . . .

The newspaper looked at data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office covering two months 24 years apart. Reporter Frank Main found that the average person killed by a firearm in August 2016 was struck by 4.25 rounds, nearly double the 2.5 bullet wounds found in the average fatal gunshot victim in August 1992, at the height of the deadliest year of the past four decades.

In one August 2016 killing highlighted by the Sun-Times report, a 22-year-old man named Kendrick Thornton was shot 38 times.

Which left him just as dead as if he’d been shot say, once in the head. Speaking of headshots . . .

(courtesy heyjackass.com)

heyjackass.com reports that some two-thirds of all headshots in Chicago meant lights out for the victim. But it was still the highest percentage kill shot for the aggressor. And I don’t think it was down to the number of bullets that landed in the vic’s cranium, do you?

Anyway, Mr. Yablon’s article Bullets-Per-Body Rise in Chicago as High-Capacity Handguns Gain Criminal Following somehow manages to make it seem like the “rise” of semi-automatic handguns in the ‘hood requires some legislative intervention.

Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows that Illinois criminals increasingly favor semiautomatic pistols that accept higher-capacity magazines. Such firearms accounted for 63 percent of all guns recovered in Illinois and traced by the ATF in 2016, up from 47 percent in 2008, the earliest year for which state-level data is available.

Despite Illinois’ reputation for strict gun laws, the state does not have its own assault-weapons ban. Cook County, which includes Chicago, restricts magazine size for rifles and shotguns, but not pistols, which are far more common.

The trend toward higher-capacity handguns in the criminal market is a reflection of changes in the nation’s legal gun industry, which ultimately supplies the underground arsenal by way of straw purchases, private sales, and theft.

More guns, deadlier “higher-capacity” guns! But not as deadly last year as the year before, and maybe no more deadly than “lower” capacity handguns. But why let the facts get in the way of an anti-gun agenda? If you did there wouldn’t be an anti-gun agenda, Alex.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    If the victim died does it matter if he was shot 2 or 102 times? He’s dead, he can’t get deader.

    1. avatar Nigel the Expat says:

      I thought that was what 10mm was for.

      To make them more deader than 9mm

      🙂

      1. avatar raptor jesus says:

        9mm kills the body.

        But .45 kills the soul.

  2. avatar JasonM says:

    almost exactly half of all headshots in Chicago meant lights out for the victim

    Uhh…if by “lights out” you mean killed, then it’s over two-thirds (217 killed, 108 wounded–presumably 325 total headshots -> 0.668 kill rate). Maybe Nick should proofread all the posts involving statistics.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      If only. Text amended.

  3. avatar Will says:

    So I should aim for the head but miss the face? Got it.

  4. avatar anonymoose says:

    “Four hits from this and it’s all over!”

  5. avatar Hank says:

    So the gang bangers of yester year used more .45s, thus achieving a higher, soul crushing body count.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      The gangbangers of yesteryear didn’t know how to aim, so they got less rounds on target. They still had 15-round 9mm Rugers and such.

      1. avatar Hank says:

        Don’t forget Tec 9s and MACs. Maybe TTAG could do a special on the evolution of criminal choices in guns. The guns of gangs, from the Tommy gun to the Hi Point.

        1. avatar S.Crock says:

          Oh gross! Tommy guns to hi points, we have really devolved.

        2. avatar Nanashi says:

          Criminals basicly never used tommy guns unless they stole them from cops/national guard. The conception comes entirely from a few high profile crimes using them and movie studios that could afford an expensive prop then reuse it in a dozen other films.

  6. avatar Nick says:

    Interesting how their cherry picked month from 2016 also has a very anomalous data point (they guy who got multiple mag dumps in him

  7. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    I might have missed it but did they factor in multiple assailants? Were more bullets shot by individuals with extended Glock mags, or more shooters per shootee with five round snubbies?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      To answer that, they would have to actually investigate more than 12% of their homicides.

  8. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Has the current cold snap had an effect on the Chicago murder rate? It must be hard to aim if your hands are shivering.

    Meanwhile I’m looking at high 30s to mid 40s over the weekend, in Celcius! Probably 80s-100F.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      Statistically, yes.
      Violent crime (and many crimes in general) do go up in warmer weather.
      Consider that as on January 1, Chicago had three murders to ring in the new year – only three! Results!

  9. avatar Mark N. says:

    Was the guy shot 38 times shot by the police? Sounds like it. Fire to slide lock, reload, repeat.

    Reminds me of a story my father used to tell of his days at old Cook County Hospital (now Stoeger). As the story goes, a perp ran from the cops, and by the time the two officers caught up to him and put him on the ground, they were supremely ticked off. They drew their service revolvers and emptied them into the guy at point blank range (striking him 9 times out of 12 shots). (I have to assume this guy had a history with the police.) Then the guy got up and ran off, and the cops had to chase him down all over again. Not one of the bullets caused serious internal injuries.

    1. avatar Hank says:

      It actually sounds plausible. There was an incident in Louisiana in the 70s, where police armed with .38s tried to arrest a very large man, after being shot twice, he wrestled away one of the guns, shot and killed one officer, the other cop managed to wrestle away that gun, then put 6 more .38s into the guy, who kept fighting. After a head shot and another shot to the heart he finally died.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    I read recently that the Chicago police are claiming they are seeing more AR/AKs being used in certain neighborhoods, which also could account for the change. (Funny, these are the same neighborhoods in which the police have greatly reduced their patrolling since Ferguson and that LaQuan kid killed by a Chicago cop, so how would they know? The whole thing smelled to me as inventing a basis to plead for an AR ban from the Illinois legislature.)

  11. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Seems to me that the bad guys are likely using hardball in their Glock Hi-Points, so it just takes more shots to get the job done. That and maybe the ER guys are getting better at their job.

    1. avatar A O says:

      Exactly. Seen more ball ammo than HP out here in these weapons recovered.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      The difference is almost certainly attributable to advances in emergency medicine over the last 30 years. The survival rate for gunshot victims who get medical treatment is over 80% now. People who take less than 4 wounds tend to survive now, where they didn’t before.

      If bullet-wounds per death is our metric of choice, you could get it down closer to 1 just by denying medical treatment to everyone who gets shot. Problem solved!

      1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

        Isn’t that what they are doing in the UK?

  12. avatar JW says:

    Y’all are missing the point.

    If the law is amended to preclude high capacity semi auto handgun magazines, then the other laws on murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, etcetera will work!

    Why can’t you people be open to compromise on common sense changes?

    1. avatar Macofjack says:

      Gun laws DON’T work! If they did Chicago would be the safest place on earth. It’s not. If you don’t get it that’s it’s the person behind the gun nothing will ever change!

      1. avatar tfunk says:

        Missing humor is probably one of my favorite things about the comments 🙂

        Having to @&$#ing keep typing in my username and email is one of the least

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          If you double click in the space to put your name, it should appear in a drop down menu. Same with email address. Works for me.

  13. avatar skiff says:

    Several years ago, Providence, RI, Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements said that criminal gangs in his city prefer revolvers because the empty shell cases (not casings) can’t be recovered as evidence.

  14. avatar former water walker says:

    More boo-lits per kill ’cause so many of the shooters are punk kills shooting gangsta’ style. And once again TTAG repeats erroneous BS…I can buy AR’s and shotguns with big magazines in COOK. Chiraq( with NO gunshops) has restrictions but not where I live in COOK. A few BS towns ban too notably Highland Park…

  15. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “But not as deadly last year as the year before, and maybe no more deadly than “lower” capacity handguns.”

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again –

    The state of marksmanship by the ‘bangers nowadays is an utter *disgrace*…

    *mutter*

    (The freaky thing is, a while back I used that “The state of marksmanship is a disgrace” quote here in TTAG about a nightclub shooting, and a few weeks back I stumbled across someone’s personal webpage who quoted it *verbatim*. I had to admit, I was kind honored. I have a fan?)

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    That’s a very nice collection and F Colts in that photo.

  17. avatar paul says:

    We should teach them to shoot and then maybe they will hit who they are aiming at – maybe they should teach the LEOs to shoot, too.

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