Fact check: Texas governor said Chicago gun control laws are ‘not a real solution.’ Is that true?

·3 min read

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott referred to Chicago gun crime as an example of how strict gun laws don’t work during a press conference hours after the mass shooting that took place Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Although Chicago has historically been associated with a gun violence epidemic, Abbott’s statement lacked important context, according to critics.

RELATED: After Texas shooting, more Charlotte officers at local schools

Gov. Greg Abbott’s claim

During the press conference, Gov. Abbott stated: “I know that people like to try to oversimplify this. Let’s talk about some real facts. And that is, there are, quote, ‘real gun laws in Chicago.’ There are, quote, ‘real gun laws in New York.’ There are real gun laws in California.

“I hate to say this but there are more people who are shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas,” he continued. “And so, if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about, is not a real solution.”

Most firearms used in gun-related Chicago crimes can be traced to out-of-state

In a 2017 report, the Chicago Police Department disclosed that the majority of illegal guns used in crimes came from outside the city limits as well as from across the border in Indiana.

“The Chicago Police Department has consistently traced close to 60 percent of its crime guns to other states,” the report explains. “The data speaks for itself, but additional gun offender surveys and time to crime recovery analyses indicate that states with lax gun laws like Indiana and Mississippi are a primary target for gang members and their gun trafficker source buyers.”

This chart shows where guns seized by the Chicago Police Department originated from, with suburban Cook County in Illinois, Indiana and Mississippi being the top three sources.
This chart shows where guns seized by the Chicago Police Department originated from, with suburban Cook County in Illinois, Indiana and Mississippi being the top three sources.

Illinois governor pushes back on Abbott’s claims

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker weighed in on Gov. Abbott’s statement by taking to Twitter to dispute the rhetoric.

“Don’t feed into the false narrative about Chicago and Illinois – it’s an excuse that politicians like you hide behind to stop the federal legislation we need to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Pritzker wrote.

In a tweet that followed, Pritzker also wrote, “You are lying about Chicago and what actually perpetuates gun violence. The majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws.”

States surrounding Illinois do have more relaxed gun laws

According to the same report from CPD, the states where guns used in Chicago crime originated enforce minimal restrictions.

Today, states like Indiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin -- among the three sources of firearms seized in Chicago -- still do not require a permit to purchase firearms, registration of firearms, or any lost and stolen, private sales, and gun show background checks.

While Illinois does enforce its own gun laws, a majority of gun violence that persists in Chicago is carried out with weapons purchased outside city limits and across state borders.

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