Just this week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Illinois’s ban on carrying concealed weapons and gave the state six months to draft a law that legalizes concealed carry. Despite having the toughest gun control laws in the country Chicago remains one of the most violent and deadliest cities. A concealed carry law will make Illinois better and safer.
Gun control advocates just need to look at Virginia. Between 2006-2011 gun sales went up by 73% and at the same time gun-related violent crimes fell 24%. Virginia Commonwealth University professor Thomas R. Baker, who specializes in research methods and criminology, said this proves that more guns do not in fact cause more violence.
"While there is a wealth of academic literature attempting to demonstrate the relationship between guns and crime, a very simple and intuitive demonstration of the numbers seems to point away from the premise that more guns leads to more crime, at least in Virginia," said Baker.
Baker examined six years of data from the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center that broke down the number of gun transactions for every federally licensed firearm dealer in Virginia. Background checks went up from 243,251 in 2006 to 420,829 in 2011. In 2006 there were 23,431 violent crimes in Virginia and dropped to 18,196 in 2011.
Handgun purchases increased 112% between 2006-2011 and violent crimes committed by people using handguns dropped by 22%.
Guns are a major part of Switzerland’s culture. Instead of a standing army they have a militia. Men between the ages of 20 and 30 are put into the militia and undergo military and weapons training, which means Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world. Yet, Switzerland has a low crime rate. In 2010 there were only 40 gun homicides.
It’s estimated that two to three million guns are in circulation, but the number cannot be confirmed since there is not a national firearms register. The men are required to keep their guns in their home. Enlisted personnel receive the 5.56x45mm Sig 550 rifle while officers, medical and postal personnel could receive that gun, but also the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol. When their service is over the can opt to keep their weapons and other items. The rifle is sent to a weapons factory where the fully automatic function is removed, thus making it a semi-automatic or self-loading rifle. These same people keep hunting rifles and pistols in their houses as well.
Gun control advocates tried to push through tougher gun control, but they failed. 20 of the 26 cantons and 56.3% of the voters rejected the idea of keeping the guns in armories. Shooting is a very popular sport in Switzerland with many towns and villages meeting for target practice at least once a week. Over 200,000 attend national annual marksmanship competitions every year.
The gun control debate will not stop and it will always be a hot button issue. At the same time, though, it is hard to deny the facts out of Virginia and Switzerland. Illinois will be safer.