After every mass shooting in the country, you can always count on conservatives to say two things: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families,” and “What about Chicago?”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the latter last week after 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were murdered in Uvalde, Texas: “I hate to say this, but there are more people shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas. And we need to realize that people who think that, well maybe if we just implement tougher gun laws, it’s gonna solve it. Chicago and L.A. and New York disprove that thesis. And so, if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about is not a real solution. Our job is to come up with real solutions that we can implement.”

There are plenty of cities more violent, more decrepit and more disorderly than Chicago. Abbott could have pointed to Detroit, St. Louis or Baltimore as examples of the folly of Democrat misrule. Those cities, however, are not threats to the Texas Way of Life, in which gunliness is next to Godliness. Chicago is a threat. We’re a liberal cancer, with a track record of imposing our un-American values on the Real America. We produced the first Black president, Barack Obama. Seeing Obama’s face on television every day made a lot of Texans feel they were living in a country they no longer recognized.

After that trick, what would be our next attack on traditional American values? Obviously, grabbing the guns of law-abiding citizens. In 2013, Breitbart commentator Awr Hawkins combined fear of Obama with fear of gun control in just two sentences.

“[I]f we implement Chicago-like gun control on a national level, we can count on many more children dying at the hands of criminals with guns,” Hawkins wrote, after Obama proposed stronger gun laws following the Sandy Hook massacre. “Chicago is Obama’s blueprint for national gun control.” 

Guns are no mere commercial product. They can’t be banned as a safety hazard, like lawn darts. Tens of millions of people need a gun to feel like a free American. They need a gun to protect themselves against the government, especially when the government is run by a president like Obama. They need a gun to protect their families from people who look like Obama, and come from places like Chicago. To the “People of the Gun,” as they call themselves, elevating gun ownership to a tribal identity, a threat to guns anywhere is a threat to guns everywhere. Ban a gun in Chicago today, and tomorrow it will be illegal in Houston. So Chicago must be prevented from spreading gun control. Local gun laws are the thin end of the wedge. The camel’s nose under the tent.

Chicago, though, has never spread gun control to Red America. Instead, Red America has imposed its libertine gun laws on Chicago. In the 2008 case McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court struck down our handgun ban. The vote was 5-4. All five justices in the majority were appointed by a president named Reagan or Bush. Then, in 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Illinois’s ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional. Why? Well, according to Judge Richard Posner (a Reagan appointee), every other state allowed its residents to walk around with a gun smuggled under their down vests, so Illinois should, too. If our concealed carry law was “demonstrably superior,” Posner wrote, we might have expected “at least one or two other states to have emulated it.” So much for federalism. 

Governor Abbott is correct that gun control does not work in Chicago. That’s because we don’t have gun control in Chicago. Judges appointed by presidents elected by the People of the Gun have ruled that state and local restrictions on gun ownership violate the 2nd Amendment, the 14th Amendment, and Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Governor Abbott was also correct when he said that gun control is not a “real solution we can implement.” It’s not. Gun control is politically impossible. The gun debate is over. Chicago lost. The National Rifle Association won. This shouldn’t be surprising. Gun owners feel more strongly about hanging on to their guns than non-gun owners feel about preventing other people from having guns. When gun owners vote, gun rights aren’t at the top of their list, they’re the entire list.

In his famous House Divided speech, Abraham Lincoln predicted that America would “cease to be divided” over slavery: “It will become all one thing, or all the other.” America has ceased to be divided over guns. We have become all one thing: a nation with 400 million guns, more than one gun for every citizen. Anyone can carry a gun, anywhere. Chicago isn’t violent because we have gun control laws; Chicago is violent because it’s part of a nation without gun control laws. That’s the nation Governor Abbott wants us all to live in, and he’s gotten his way.

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