When it comes to ending the obscene flow of illegal guns into Chicago, our town can never do it alone.
Only a federal crackdown will stem the flow. Only an aggressive federal approach — saner national gun laws and zero tolerance for illegal sales — will reduce the number of guns used to shoot and kill thousands of people in Chicago each year.
Some 60% of guns used in crimes in Chicago can be traced to out-of-state dealers, including 20% from Indiana alone. If the problem is national, crossing state borders, the solution must be, too.
President Joe Biden recognized that reality on Wednesday and earlier this week in rolling out at least a partial strategy for countering gun violence in Chicago and other cities. He announced a handful of common-sense federal initiatives — nothing too politically polarizing — that are sure to be supported by a strong majority of Americans, if not by advocates for “defunding” the police or the extremist National Rifle Association.
At the same time, the cautious character of Biden’s new strategy speaks to the broader problem — good luck with anybody doing anything more. Not so long as a minority of a minority party, the Republican Party, continues to block even the most modest legislation in Congress to regulate our nation’s crazy, free-wheeling trade in guns.
Biden is acting by executive order, rather than writing legislation, because that’s all he’s got.