TTAG has reported that Chicago residents “inspired” by recent handgun home defense incidents are purchasing an illegal weapon. The Chicago Trib reports that this news isn’t. It’s odd that two people have to die before the paper highlights the fact. (We would have done so back in ’07, but we started publishing in February of this year.) “Based on a study that Ludwig and other experts conducted in 2007 on Chicago’s underground gun market, he roughly estimated that as many as 100,000 Chicago households could have handguns. ‘Judging from the available data, there are apparently a lot of people in Chicago who feel strongly enough they need a gun for protection that they’re willing to ignore the ban,’ Ludwig said.” Ya think?
The report’s authors estimated about 1,400 black-market gun sales occurred each year in the Grand Boulevard-Washington Park neighborhood, “or about one sale per year for every 30 people living in this very high-crime neighborhood.” In interviews with more than 100 non-gang members ages 18 to 21 who owned guns, the report found the price was $250 to $400, a serious mark-up above legal prices.
Allow me to interject. I’m not sure how the report’s authors calculated the mark-up on illegal guns. It’s not likely they were comparing like for like. I’m thinking that Chicago’s illegal guns are poor to abysmal quality pieces, with all the dangers that implies (both to the shooter and innocent bystanders).
The authors characterized gun ownership across the city as comparatively low but not because of the gun ban, which they termed ineffective at reducing ownership rates though possibly more helpful in reducing violence. They cited low historic ownership rates and efforts by some gangs to control possession among their membership, and they credited “other law enforcement activities” for getting guns off the streets.
So Chicago gangs lower illegal gun ownership? I sure didn’t see that one coming.