As Gun Possession Arrests Double, Shootings Remain High

Renewed focus on weapons charges is producing interesting, if disappointing, results. While arrests have doubled for possession of weapons charges, shootings remain high and frequently result in no arrest. The problem is that the majority of these arrests are targeting Black men but have not resulted in an overall reduction of violent crime. 

The race to get guns off the street ensures that police officers will use any potential pretext as a reason to search suspects. This can include innocuous traffic stops for tinted windows, the smell of weed, or a bulge in a fanny pack. Police believe that every gun recovered is a potential life saved. But lives are also destroyed in the process. However, the majority of weapons-related charges involve allegations of possession and not use. Violent crimes involving guns remain difficult to solve, and police have overwhelmingly charged Black men with weapons violations. Even as the number of possession-related arrests doubled, the number of violent crimes involving guns escalated over the same period. 

Statistics on Gun Possession Charges

The Marshall Project is responsible for the following statistics. 

From 2010 to 2022, Chicago police made over 38,000 arrests for gun possession. The crime is almost always charged as a felony, and the number of arrests doubled over this period of time. In the majority of the cases analyzed, the most serious charged offense was gun possession, meaning that the crime for which the suspect could spend the most time in prison was mere possession of a gun. 

Research conducted by Loyola University Chicago found that the majority of individuals facing weapons charges do not go on to commit violent crimes. Instead, those convicted of committing violent crimes in the past are more likely to commit violent crimes in the future. 

The majority of cases filed against criminal defendants were Black. Even though Blacks comprise 33% of the population of Chicago, four out of every five criminal defendants accused of weapons charges were Black. The majority were young men between the ages of 20 and 30. Even when these men were not sentenced to prison, they faced serious repercussions under the law. These included job loss, car impoundment, felony records, and the inability to own a gun in the future. Weapons arrests are now at their highest point since the mid-1990s.

The Chicago police department has refused to comment on the findings of the study. 

Legally Carrying a Weapon in Chicago

To legally carry a gun in Chicago, residents need two distinct forms of licensure. The first is a firearm owner’s permit which costs $11. The second is a FOID card which can take months to process and costs over $300. Many young men are in fear for their own lives and choose to carry a weapon for personal safety reasons. This is often a matter of where you live, as random acts of violence can be high in certain areas of Chicago. 

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

David Freidberg represents the interests of those facing weapons charges in Chicago. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300

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