Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared on CNN Friday, where he was asked to defend Chicago, Illinois’ strict gun laws (some of the strictest in the nation) in light of the city’s 500th homicide this year. Though he was asked several times, Rev. Jackson either couldn’t or wouldn’t defend the tight gun control laws, instead making a variety of accusations and strange comparisons.
The Associated Press reports that Chicago’s murder count hit 500 last Friday, a first for the city since 2008. Comparatively, 2011 saw 435 Chicago homicides. More than 2,400 shootings have occurred, and gang-related arrests are about 7,000 higher than in 2011. A total 87.5 percent of 2012’s homicides were gun-related.
Though this seems like a cut-and-dried example of the need for stricter gun control, Chicago already observes some of the strictest laws in the US. Regardless, guns continue to flow into the city and gang violence has steadily increased, despite being down overall compared to the early 90s.
On CNN, Rev. Jesse Jackson was asked to comment on gun-related homicides in Chicago, and whether or not stricter gun laws nationwide would ameliorate or worsen the problem of criminal violence in the city. Alternatively, do the strict gun laws of Chicago prove that violence still occurs regardless of gun bans?
Jackson defended Chicago, pointing out that there doesn’t exist a “gun culture” like the one apparently present in Newtown, Connecticut. “I think about Newtown, for example, they have three or four gun ranges. There are no gun ranges in Chicago,” Jackson said. “Newtown is so different than the complexity of the urban crisis.”
Jackson also said that gun crime and joblessness are linked: “40 percent unemployment does matter,” Jackson continued. “Lack of education does matter.”
Asked again about Chicago’s gun violence despite strict gun laws, Jackson replied:
“The guns are not coming from Chicago. Chicago is in a bubble as the manufacturer — we’re a target market for gun flow. And they exploit the poverty and the pain.”
Here’s video, via Mediaite. Do you agree or disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson on the issues of gun violence and gun control? Did the CNN anchor treat him fairly?