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Memo To Ted Cruz: At Least 14 Texas Cities Have Higher Murder Rates Than Chicago [Opinion]

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to task earlier this week when the senator mentioned the city she presides over in the wake of a mass shooting in his home state.

Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Cruz used the city as an example of how gun control laws supposedly don’t work, HillReporter.com previously reported.

“Gun control doesn’t work. Look at Chicago. Disarming law-abiding citizens isn’t the answer,” Cruz wrote in a tweet.

There aren’t any laws, however, that disarm Chicago residents. In fact, Cruz, and many others who use Chicago as a lesson about gun control, could use a refresher course.

The city did indeed have many restrictive gun laws up to 2010. Back then, the city saw a murder rate of about 15.24 individuals killed for every 100,000 in its jurisdiction — a high rate to be sure, but not an uncommon rate for a major U.S. city at the time.

The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled that Chicago’s gun laws were too restrictive that year, and forced the city to rescind some of them. Since that time, Chicago isn’t the most restrictive city, when it comes to gun laws, in the country, in spite of inferences from Cruz and others. And in spite of the loosening of gun laws, crimes in the city have gone up, and the murder rate skyrocketed by more than 58 percent from then to 2017.

So-called “conventional wisdom” from gun proponents like Cruz would have us believe a loosening of gun laws would make the city safer. But, in spite of that “wisdom,” the city became more dangerous.

That said, there are at least 14 cities in the state of Texas that actually have a higher murder rate than Chicago does, according to FBI statistics. Most of these cities are much, much smaller than Chicago, but when comparing murder statistics, it’s important to compare rates instead of raw murder numbers in order to determine which are safer and which are not between a given number.

Chicago in 2017, the most recent stats available from the FBI, had a murder rate of 24.13 killed per 100,000 citizens. In Texas, the following cities had higher murder rates: Center (36.95); Hearne (44.54); Hedwig Village (37.29); La Marque (35.72); Luling (33.54); Mathis (60.74); Milford (133.33); Naples (74.40); Nassau Bay (24.55); Navasota (26.30); Patton Village (51.20); Sanger (24.46); and Willow Park (37.23).

For some of those cities, the high rate may be a fluke — a single murder or two can create the appearance of a high murder rate. Others have true crime problems that must be addressed. But, as far as the year 2017 goes, within all of the cities listed above, the chances of being murdered was much higher than it was in the city of Chicago.

So what does this prove? It highlights that Cruz’s suggestion, the idea that looser gun laws make cities safer, may not be accurate (indeed, a number of studies have found that assertion to be untrue). These Texas cities are within a statewide jurisdiction with less restrictive laws than the city of Chicago has — and yet, in 2017, they were all more dangerous to live within.

Chicago has to address its violence, to be sure, but the “solutions” offered by Cruz and others are not likely to fix things there. The problems the city faces may need a more nuanced approach, and certainly, loosening gun laws isn’t the path to take.



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