|Root Out Bad Apple Gun Dealers:
Chuck’s Gun Shop
One of the best ways to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence in our communities is by getting rid of the bad apple gun dealers who sell
guns to people who should not have them in their possession. While most gun dealers are reputable and do their due diligence regarding
background checks, there are a few bad ones that do not, and the vast majority of guns that are involved in violent crimes are traced directly
back to them. According to research done by the Brady Campaign & Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, five percent of the gun dealers in
the U.S. supply 90 percent of the crime guns annually. Stopping these bad dealers will have a significant impact on the number of deaths in
communities all across the country.
One of the most notorious bad apple gun dealers resides in the Village of Riverdale, Illinois located on the south side of Chicago. In its thirty
year history, Chuck’s Gun Shop has been the subject of numerous protests calling for its closing due to the high number of guns used in
Chicago’s violent crimes. Obviously, criminals and other dangerous people cannot purchase guns legally, so they have someone else do it for
them. Having someone buy a gun that you cannot legally purchase for yourself is known as a straw purchase. Straw purchases and gun
trafficking account for the majority of illegal gun sales.
In a 2014 analysis done by the University of Chicago Crime Lab, over 1,500 guns were covered and traced back to Chuck’s Gun Shop since
2009, far more than any other local gun dealer. Another report completed back in 2004 showed that Chuck’s Gun Shop was the number-one
dealer of guns used in crimes between 1996 and 2000. In addition to civilians, law enforcement officers have also fallen victim to guns sold by
Chuck’s as well. Despite the fact that Chuck’s Gun Shop has sold guns illegally, they have yet to run afoul of the law. The store still operates
today with complete immunity largely protected by the National Rifle Association. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
(ATF) are only allowed to do one spot inspection per year on gun dealers. Poor record keeping on the part of these dealers is spotty at best,
making law enforcement’s job tougher to trace recovered weapons used in the commission of crimes.
While it may be true that the bad actors who use the guns are ultimately responsible, limiting access to those who should not possess them
does rest with the gun shops who make the initial sales. Regarding the number of shootings in Chicago, President Trump has asked, “what the
hell is going on?” He has threatened to call in the “Feds” if things don’t get better. It is apparent that things won’t get better until Congress
passes some sensible gun control legislation, something that is not likely to happen under the current House and Senate since both are
currently controlled by Republicans who have been in staunch opposition to such legislation.
Currently, there are about 13 cities that have some of the nation’s worst bad apple gun dealers. Chicago and Milwaukee are in that group.
Homicide rates due to gun-related violence will continue to rise until the flow of illegal guns is stopped from invading our cities. According to
the Washington Post, there are approximately 357 million firearms in the U.S.,and far too many of these guns are ending up in the wrong hands.
We can have sensible gun legislation without treading on anyone’s First Amendment right to bear arms. The problem with the current gun
legislation is that it allows an individual who is on the terror no-fly watch to still able to purchase a gun. We need to stem the tide of violence in
cities across the country such as Milwaukee, Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Oakland, Gary, Miami, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Tucson,
Philadelphia, Pittsburg, and Richmond Va. These 13 cities had the highest number of bad apple gun dealers in the country while New York, NY
saw an 84 percent decrease in the number of guns recovered by city police from bad apple gun dealers. The reason for New York’s drop was
due in large part to successful lawsuits in the courts against gun dealers. Bad apple gun shops like Chuck’s Gun Shop and others must be
held accountable for largely contributing to the violence in our inner cities.