Illinois and the City of Chicago have some of the nation's most stringent gun laws, particularly the city's controversial ban on handgun sales currently in the crosshairs of the US Supreme Court. If it's so difficult to get a piece in the Second City, then why is gun violence here so rampant?
The answer may have something to do with Illinois' neighbor to the east, according to federal statistics (NWI.com).
Chicago-based Special Agent Thomas Ahern of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says it's as simple as this: Illinois and Indiana share a border and Chicago has no gun stores.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, meanwhile, cites data ranking Indiana as one of the top five "source states," a term that refers to the last state in which the gun was legally sold. Illinois was its own biggest source state in 2008, with Indiana a close second, supplying 857 guns recovered by Illinois police after being used to commit a crime.
Differences in opinion within Indiana as to whether or not the state should toughen its gun laws fall across typical political party lines. State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, says Indiana's gun laws are "just fine," while Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, would like to toughen the gun laws but claims the National Rifle Association has too much power within the state.
Gun control opponents insist that criminals steal guns and buy them from intermediaries who purchase them ostensibly for legal reasons, claiming that gun control doesn't prevent gun-related crimes.
Proponents of tougher gun laws, on the other hand, point to data suggesting that states with weaker gun laws fuel the illegal gun market and provide the "crime guns" used to commit murder and other crimes in states and cities with tougher gun laws.
It's an age-old argument, especially in the US. But it's often pointed out that other industrialized nations with outright bans on handgun sales have far fewer incidents of gun violence than in the trigger-happy United States.