January was one of the deadliest in Chicago in more than a decade, with more than 40 people killed in homicides. “Last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm in this city, and 65 of them were 18 and under,” Obama said in his speech. “That’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months. That’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.” Obama also remembered Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old who was killed in a South Side park days after performing at his inauguration.
Chicago is home to some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, but regulations in the surrounding parts of Illinois are much laxer — enabling middlemen to supply criminals in Chicago with guns they purchased elsewhere. “Forty three percent of the guns seized by law enforcement in Chicago were originally purchased in other parts of Illinois” and the remaining 57 percent of Chicago firearms came from out of state, most significantly from Indiana and Mississippi — both of which have lax gun regulations. Chicago has close to six times as many guns as New York City per capita, despite having more restrictive laws.