WBEZ | Adam Winkler http://www.wbez.org/tags/adam-winkler Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Long Hot Summer: Chicago's gun economy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-chicagos-gun-economy-101298 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/handgun%20flickr%20barjack.jpg" title="(flickr/Keary O)" /></div><p>James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder on Monday morning after allegedly killing a dozen people and wounding 58 others in a Colorado movie theater on July 20. Just days after the shooting&mdash;and in light of the tragic event&mdash;the Chicago City Council revisited the city&rsquo;s controversial gun ordinance.</p><p>The controversial law recently came under fire when U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan struck down the section used to deny a man a gun permit because of a prior misdemeanor conviction. The judge argued that the ordinance violated the citizen&rsquo;s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Last week, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/chicago-gun-ordinance-ema_n_1624318.html" target="_blank">as promised</a>, Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to the ruling. With City Council&rsquo;s support, the mayor rewrote the ordinance to permanently bar anyone who has been convicted of a felony violent crime and impose a five-year ban on anyone convicted of a misdemeanor violent crime.</p><p>This is not the first time a tragic event sparked a call for new gun control laws. But, UCLA law professor <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/20/why-don-t-mass-shootings-lead-to-gun-control.html" target="_blank">Adam Winkler says</a>, over the past twenty years, it&rsquo;s become increasingly clear that mass shootings, no matter how tragic, don&rsquo;t lead to reforms of gun laws. This is largely because gun control is a political hot button&mdash;as the National Rifle Association increases its political significance, gun control advocacy groups struggle to stay afloat. The other obstacle facing gun control, the <a href="http://www.law.ucla.edu/faculty/all-faculty-profiles/professors/Pages/adam-winkler.aspx" target="_blank"><em>Gun Fight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms</em> <em>in America</em></a> author says, is that it&rsquo;s difficult to find effective laws to prevent shootings&mdash;but that wasn&rsquo;t always the case.</p><p>The National Firearms Act, the first major federal gun control law, was prompted by one of Chicago&rsquo;s most famous residents: Al Capone. The blood from the St. Valentine&rsquo;s Day massacre was splattered across front pages around the country in the winter of 1929. In response, President Franklin Roosevelt himself led a political movement which resulted in the passing of the NFA in 1934, thereby restricting access to machine guns and other firearms favored by gangsters. &nbsp;</p><p>Yet, nearly 80 years later, Chicago remains plagued by gangsters strapped with firearms. What&rsquo;s even more puzzling is that the city and the state of Illinois have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Illinois is the only state without a concealed carry law on the books. But Winkler says when it comes to constitutional law, it&rsquo;s not good to be an outlier.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.atf.gov/" target="_blank">Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives</a> estimates there are more than 280 million firearms in the U.S. And if the number of shootings in Chicago is any indication, a good number of those guns are in the Windy City.</p><p>To better understand the economics and legal infrastructure around guns in Chicago, <em>Afternoon Shift</em> spoke with Winkler, University of Chicago <a href="http://crimelab.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">Crime Lab</a> director <a href="http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/directory/faculty/jens_ludwig" target="_blank">Jens Ludwig</a> and Special Agent Thomas Ahern. Ahern serves as the public information officer for the Chicago Field Office of the ATF.</p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-chicagos-gun-economy-101298