By Dave Workman
Murders declined in Chicago during 2013, and according to gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, the reduction may have something to do with an increasing number of legally-armed citizens willing and able to fight back.
According to ABC News and the Associated Press, Chicago recorded the fewest homicides last year since 1965, and the overall crime rate dropped “to a level not seen since 1972.”
Last year, the city reported 415 homicides, down 88 killings from 2012.
“We are making significant progress by putting additional officers in high-crime areas, using intelligence to prevent retaliatory shootings, moving officers from administrative positions back to the streets,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a prepared statement.
But that may not be the only factor involved, according to Gottlieb.
“For three decades,” he said, “street thugs essentially enjoyed a risk-free environment in the Windy City. That changed, thanks to a series of court victories stemming from SAF’s win in the 2010 McDonald case. That forced the city to enter the 21st Century and rejoin the United States where the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment.:
The McDonald victory served as a launch pad for subsequent legal actions including Moore v. Madigan, which forced the state legislature to adopt a concealed carry statute.
“One thing about criminal predators is that they don’t want to risk getting shot by an intended victim,” he concluded. “Now, with legal concealed carry coming to Illinois thanks to SAF’s victory in Moore v. Madigan, this sends an even stronger message to criminals that it may be time to change their lifestyle.”
Chicago police reported that the number of shootings dropped from 2,448 in 2012 to 1,864 last year. Still the Windy City posted more murders than New York, with 333, and Los Angeles, where 250 killings were reported on Dec. 28.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly credited the fact that the city had more cops on the street and had introduced youth programs that may have headed off some of the violence. There was also more efforts to target street gangs and putting additional officers on overtime to target some of the highest crime areas in the city after dark.
Still, Gottlieb maintained that adding armed, law abiding citizens to the equation could also have played a part.
“Improved police work is certainly a factor, and no doubt a number of slayings involved people with criminal backgrounds, themselves, who are no longer victimizing the community,” Gottlieb observed. “However, it cannot be discounted that with the restoration of gun rights in the city, there is a deterrent factor that did not exist for many years under the virtual ban on private handgun ownership within the city limits.
“Surveys have repeatedly revealed that predatory criminals fear armed citizens,” he added. “Just the thought that an intended victim might be armed, and willing to fight back, tends to discourage some of these outlaws.”