The recent gun violence over the July 4th holiday in Chicago has reignited the debate about whether stricter gun laws make a city more or less safe when it comes to gun violence. Conservative media outlets cite Chicago as an example of a city that has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws yet still suffers from some of the nation’s highest gun violence statistics.

The debate over whether gun laws should become more or less strict has been heating up since the recent Illinois decision in Moore v Madigan and United States Supreme Court decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller. The question then becomes, “are stricter gun laws protecting people or disarming them against individuals who obtain guns illegally?” Proponents of strict gun laws feel that the strict laws will punish those who use and possess firearms illegally while those who argue for relaxed gun laws feel that if individuals are armed without the fear of prosecution for legal possession, these people are now armed to protect themselves from those using firearms illegally.

The recent decisions mentioned above have opened the door to expanded conceal and carry laws in Illinois and Chicago. With these expanded conceal and carry laws being in effect, the violence Chicago experienced on July 4th weekend still occurred. Conservatives who support relaxed gun laws must then ask themselves the question of, “where were all of those legal gun carriers to stop the gun violence that occurred on July 4th?”

While conservative media outlets mention Chicago as their example of why gun laws should be relaxed, these same media outlets fail to mention that the cities with the highest gun crimes are also in the state’s with some of the most relaxed gun laws. States such as Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri have some of the most relaxed gun and firearm laws in the country yet the cities of New Orleans, Detroit and St. Louis have significantly higher rates of gun violence compared to Chicago.

Perhaps the gun violence we see in these cities is more about social and economic isolation of populations that are left to fend for themselves and not about whether having guns and firearms in law abiding citizens’ hands will prevent future violence.

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