A tale of two cities (with apologies to Charles Dickens)

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Chicago’s proud reclamation of the “Murder Capital of the U.S.” title. This is despite having a population much smaller than those of New York City or Los Angeles. That’s a distinction Chicago also held in 1998. The Cubs may not be able be champions twice in a hundred years, but clearly there’s something at which Chicago excels.

In contrast, we see that Miami, Florida made it through the entire month of October (and then some) without a single homicide. I wonder when was the last time Chicago got through a weekend without a homicide. Granted, Miami’s population is only about 1/7th that of Chicago, but the population densities are comparable.

Some other differences between the two cities? Hmm . . . Oohh–I thought of one! Let’s look at gun laws. At the state level, we can compare Illinois’ “grade” from the Brady Campaign to Florida’s. Let’s see–28 points out of 100 for Illinois, putting it in 9th place for “best” (by Brady standards) gun laws, to 8 points for Florida, for a tie for 32nd place.

Well that’s odd, isn’t it? Remember a few years ago, when the Brady Campaign handed out fliers to tourists visiting Florida, warning of the danger of being shot? Looks to me as if they need to get to Kinko’s, crank out a bunch of new fliers, and get busy at O’Hare airport in Chicago.

Of course, if you compare gun laws at the local level, rather than by state (which would make sense, since we’re comparing murder rates at the local level), the differences become even more stark. While Illinois has some of the most draconian gun laws of any state in the Union, Chicago is by far the most restrictive part of the state, with an outright ban on privately owned handguns that weren’t registered by 1983, mandatory (annual) registration for every gun that is permitted, etc., etc.

Miami, on the other hand, imposes very few additional restrictions on gun ownership beyond those stipulated by state and federal law.

How’s that Olympic bid coming along, Daley?

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