Stewart: Windy City Gun Sentences Driven by Politics, Not Facts

Post Date: October 16, 2013

Julie Stewart

Julie Stewart, FAMM president and founder

(Huffington Post commentary by Julie Stewart) — The world has gone mad. Or maybe it is just Illinois. While states across the country are moving away from counterproductive and costly mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Illinois is considering adopting a new one for gun possession. And while it used to be the conservatives who proposed new mandatory sentences for every crime du jour, in Democratic Illinois, it’s the left-leaning policymakers who are agitating for the new gun law. What the heck is going on in the Land of Lincoln?

The only fact beyond dispute is that Chicago, like all cities, wants to reduce its homicide rate. After that, everything gets distorted. Some say that Chicago is now the murder capital of the nation. Since what really matters is the homicide rate, i.e., the number of homicides compared to the total population, this claim is simply untrue. There are dozens of cities in America that have higher murder rates and qualify as more dangerous. From news reports, one also might believe that Chicago’s homicide rate has reached unprecedented levels. That’s not true, either. The city’s homicide rate was higher last year than it has been since 2008, but it is nowhere near the elevated levels Chicagoans experienced in the 1980s and ’90s.  Read more