A significant source of firearms involved in Chicago crimes is not gun shows or even straw purchases from neighboring states, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, but from gun shop burglaries around the Prairie State.
The revelation may poke a hole in the claim by gun prohibition lobbying groups that gun shows are “arms bazaars for criminals.” When Chicago-based outlaws deal in stolen guns, they avoid
background check requirements or any other annoyance endured by law-abiding citizens, such as possession of an FOID card.
According to the newspaper, a case involving two men who were arrested for firing stolen guns into the air to celebrate the New Year on Jan. 1, 2012 provided a critical bit of information to police about where local thugs were getting their guns. Investigators tied the pair to a string of gun shop burglaries that had put “more than 450 guns” from Illinois and two other states on the streets, the newspaper explained.
Illinois, the newspaper added, “ranked in the top 10 among all states for the number of guns burglarized from firearms dealers and for the number of such stores hit in 2016,” according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Last year, Chicago reported the highest number of homicides in two decades, with 762 slayings. While the state, and certainly the city, put as many inconveniences in the way of honest citizens wanting to buy a gun that they can legally get away with, there appear to be no such encumbrances impair the criminal element.
This report reinforces a conclusion reached many years ago by gun rights activists that gun shows are not the problem.
Twenty years ago, the Justice Department surveyed thousands of state and federal prison inmates and discovered that gun shows are actually at the bottom of the list when it comes to criminals getting firearms. According to The Daily Caller, that survey revealed the following:
· 39.6% of criminals obtained guns from friends or family members
· 39.2% of criminals got their guns “on the street” or from an illegal source
· 8.3% bought their guns from retail outlets
· 3.8% purchased their gun from a pawn shop
· 1% bought a gun at a flea market
· 0.7% purchased a gun at a gun show
Many of those “guns obtained on the street” are there because they were stolen. They might come from residential burglaries, car prowls or some other illicit source. Occasionally, they turn out to have been stolen from law enforcement, such as the gun used to kill Kate Steinle two years ago in San Francisco.
One former Seattle police chief lost a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his parked department car on Dec. 26, 2004, and despite a reward offered by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, so far it does not appear that pistol has been recovered.