Despite Chicago's reputation, Illinois comes in 40th overall in national rankings for gun violence, according to a new report.
The Center for American Progress found that in Illinois, someone is fatally shot every eight hours. Researchers looked at 10 different types of gun violence from 2005 to 2014, including suicides, homicides and mass shootings. Report co-author Chelsea Parsons, the center's vice president for guns and crime policy, said states with the strictest gun laws had the lowest levels of violence.
"What we found," she said, "is that the 10 states that have the weakest gun laws collectively have rates of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws."
Gun-violence victims in Illinois are predominantly young African-Americans. From 2005 to 2014, more than 1,900 people younger than age 21 were killed. While African-Americans make up close to 15 percent of the state's total population, they account for about three quarters of gun-related homicide victims in the state.
The researchers found that laws requiring background checks, trigger-lock rules and training requirements coincided with lower rates of gun violence. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation late this summer targeting people who purchase guns in other states with the intent of bringing them into Illinois to resell. Parsons said that, and tougher identification laws for gun purchases, are needed.
"Making sure that all gun sales in the state are required to undergo a background check will help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, who are not supposed to be able to buy them," she said.
From 2005 to 2014, the report said, twice as many people in Illinois were killed with guns than the total number of combat fatalities in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Illinois is one of the 21 states where more people are killed with guns than in car accidents.
The report is online at americanprogress.org.