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Handgun-Related Homicides Increase in Illinois Despite Strict Gun Laws

By Nicole Sroka

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019

In 2016, a total of 961 homicide incidents were reported in Illinois. The most commonly used weapon to commit these homicides -- 849 times -- was a handgun.

Despite both the National Firearms Act and Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act being applicable to gun owners in Illinois – which impose stricter gun control, sales, and background checks – individuals still find ways to acquire firearms illegally. These firearms, specifically handguns, were the most commonly used weapon to commit homicides in Illinois in 2016.

The Illinois State Police Supplemental Homicide Reporting data reveals how different types of firearms, like shotguns and rifles, were also used in the commission of homicides in Illinois: the data are reported for each victim and offender, and multiple weapons could have been used to commit a homicide. 

An article published by The Washington Post, mentions how President Donald Trump stated Chicago has the strongest gun control laws in the United States, though, the city has long been plagued with gun induced homicides and violence. The main question, however, is where do people acquire firearms with the strict gun laws imposed in Illinois? 

According to WBEZ 91.5 Chicago and The Chicago Tribune, a majority of guns collected and used in acts of violence in Chicago were illegally purchased in Indiana. Less stringent gun legislation in certain states allows people to purchase firearms quickly and then transport them to different locations.

The graphic above illustrates how most of the homicides in Illinois in 2016 were due to firearms. To prevent the increase in gun related homicides in Illinois it may be necessary to call for a nationwide legislation, some experts say. If stricter gun control laws are enacted throughout the United States, Illinois homicide levels related to firearms may decrease due to people not being able to purchase their weapons in bordering states like Indiana, experts say. 

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