Could ending the war on drugs be one of our best weapons in preventing gun violence?

On the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on assault rifles, background checks, and gun rights, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot to death on the South Side of Chicago. No one outside her neighborhood would have heard of Hadiya if she weren’t exceptional: an honors student, a majorette who marched in President Obama’s inaugural parade. But the cause of her death—reportedly gang violence, striking someone too young to die—is unexceptional.

When we talk about gun violence, we talk about mental health and high-capacity magazines because we want to stop the rare but attention-grabbing mass shootings in middle-class suburbs. We talk less about the gun violence that claims young people in our impoverished inner cities as a matter of routine.

But we need to be talking about the kind of commonplace brutality most of us could never imagine, and about the drug prohibition that feeds it. We need to ask ourselves: Could ending the war on drugs be one of our best weapons in preventing gun violence?


Jim Gierach, a former Chicago-area prosecutor, notes that 80 percent of homicides in Chicago are gang-related. “And what’s the business of gangs? Obviously, drugs,” he told Campus Progress in an interview. “We can change drug policy. ... It’s the way to reduce violence that’s easy, the one that’s obvious.”

It's Black Markets 101, experts said: Drug prohibition breeds gun violence. A prohibited substance, especially an addictive one, can yield tremendous profits for organizations that can afford the many costs associated with smuggling. By definition, you can’t get legal protections to sell an illegal product. And when high profits are at stake and the courts are out of the picture, justice is often administered through violence.

“Black market trading routes are somewhat equal-opportunity,”  said Trevor Burrus, a research fellow with the Cato Institute. “A black market route for drugs can become a black market route for guns. It’s difficult to quantify, but unquestionably a huge factor.”

Studies show that the black market for alcohol during Prohibition led to increased homicides [PDF]—despite the fact that alcohol consumption, which is correlated with murder, went down. Homicides dropped by about half not long after Prohibition’s repeal, but thanks largely to the war on drugs, the late 20th century saw another spike [PDF] in the murder rate.

Four decades and and $1.5 trillion later, the United States' war on drugs has not only failed to reduce illegal drug abuse, it has failed to ensure the safety of our major cities and our young people.

Criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University wrote in a 2011 report [PDF] that more punitive sentences for drug offenders came into fashion in the 1980s and 1990s, when the crack violence epidemic raged and politicians feared being called “soft on crime.” But as career criminals went off to serve long sentences, younger replacements stepped up—young enough to have much poorer impulse control with the guns they carried for protection from robbers. The number of gun homicides perpetrated by teens and youth under the age of 24 quickly skyrocketed.

“If we arm kids because they’re in the drug business, we arm them for every purpose,” Gierach said. An argument or a score-settling that should mean a black eye could mean a bullet instead.

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Tags: guns, prohibition, violence, war-on-drugs

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Several months ago the BRIC Countries had a meeting in South America to discuss multiple items. 1. Money 2. Drugs 3. NationState and others, they made procuedure decisions at that meeting. The US showed up late and DID NOT AGREE with their decisions, the rumor had it that the US President stormed out of the meeting when the new agenda was presented. There should be some serious reports on this meeting but purhaps only on Al Jazeera & RT which both also seem to be blocked repeatedly. Of course there is also the US Gun Running to Central and South America which was also discussed - the armerment only goes to "CERTAIN" (1) Drug Cartel. That also starts to explain why the BRIC appraoch and the other Cartel's approach. All of this on a Perot Chart would shock and entire country. Currently in two other articles "posters" such as in the US Post Office story and others like the East Coast storm pending have brought forth certain "KEY" items addressing the issues that are "CO-MINGLED" with the DRUG situation which this story also clearly points out is a deabilitating problem especially for youth. 1. DRUGS are a serious rich mans game and the biggest and baddest do not want competition nor any authorities to interfere with their ill-gotten profits - following these funds will identify the "UNBELIEVABLE" of persons. 2. Derivatives will no longer be exceptable for Drugs, Oil and any other products. 3. By Majority Rule those (140) BRIC Countries now (180) have adopted a unanomous position to work together to STOP it ALL. Once the "Players, Participants, Owners, and Helpers are identified all things will quickly change. Not that it is not a MAJOR problem now - as those that know, saw and address these issues the mysteries evaporate therefore identifiying immediate solutions.

This is a no brainer.  What happened with the other great experiment - prohibition of alcohol.  That increased alcoholism by 39%, brought out al capone, and created a very violent society.  Quack politicians wanted more violence so they brought out "war against drugs/people".  And they again created a more violent society.  Join LEAP, or just go their website and learn more.   In 1900, drugs could be had at any drug store, and doctors wrote scripts for them.  50% of females were addicted to opium  for that "monthly problem".  Hooking was legal, drugs legal, alcohol was legal, and the crime rate was low, few in prison.  Now over $100 billion/yr is waisted, can you guess a good place to get the money for schools..  

Legalize Drugs? NEVER happen-- not even pot-- and I'll "prove" it..... Think about it....if they did legalize even so much as pot (a "non-violent" drug)....the Federal Government would stand to make at least MILLIONS each year-- on taxes alone. That doesn't count the savings of paying to incarcerate "pot convicts" AND the economizing of already over-taxed police enforcement. Yet they do not.....why???

1. On a MUCH more minor note-- who would stand to lose BILLIONS each year? The mob. 'nuff said right there alone.

2. I hate to rain on anyone's parade but TPTB WANT gun violence. They WANT our children dieing in the streets WHOLESALE-- to play down the value of firearms so they can dismantle the Second Amendment.

3. Time is up, pencils down. The real reason that drugs will never be legalized is EXACTLY because there will be fewer people in prison. Prisons are CRAMMED full of people to keep us from focusing on the truth. If you don't believe me, do the research yourself. If you look hard enough the statistics are all there. Pound for pound, dead body for dead body-- more people die by industrial accidents and other assorted sundries (preventable deaths such as death caused by cigarette smoking) than by ALL combined violent crimes in that same year. If prisons were empty or even close to it, we (as a People) would start focusing on all the deaths by "white-collar" crime (Example: The corporate executive who skimps on safety measures that cause the miners to die by explosion-- or worse-- black lung). In other words, we would start looking at incarcerating the rich white guy for embezzlement when he currently lives a life of mockery in our society.

Have I missed anything?

You may be right but I still have hope that one day that common sense will prevail and 'We the People' will rise above the powers that be. Maybe I'm delusional but I think there exists in every one of us the want to be free. It is really a choice we all have to make to live free or live a life shackled to the system. 

And my belief is, the quickest way to stop much of the gun violence in this country is to stop the useless, 'war on drugs'. Besides, when you label anything a war, that is what you will ultimately get... right?

I was thinking about this today Tara and in a way, you may be right-- after the Federal Government as we know it today ceases to exist.....

On a larger scale, the drug trade (war) between Mexico and the USA will never end. Both countries will never end the illegal drug market....too much $$$$ will be lost for the governments.
IMO ending the drug war or banning weapons will ultimately fail. We have kids being raised and reared by tv, video games, music, medicines and movies. Whether or not you blame these things, when you mix them with (failed or absent parenting) it has serious effects. The violent movies of Hollyweird, violent video games, dangerous meds and the criminal aspect of TV and rap music which is available for the youngest to watch and learn from are available to all. These factors contribute to the culture of immorality and acceptance and condoning of criminal behavior.
Its easy to blame the weapon (and there are millions) but the powers in control will rarely take a hard look at a person's behavior and attitudes about right and wrong and good and evil.
Concerned with mounting death toll, Taliban offers to send peacekeeping advisers to Chicago.
Courtesy of the peoples cube.

Just read an article how California whom has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation only has 33 officers enforcing the law against Felons and the Insane owning guns. "The entire state of California has dedicated just 33 agents to tracking down some 20,000 felons and mentally ill who own guns illegally, and 40,000 guns owned by them.'

The reason for the lax enforcement is simple MORE GUN VIOLENCE so that the legislature in Cali can claim that they need to infringe further on their constituents right to keep and bear arms.  Just like in most states violent offenders are let go earlier more often than non-violent offenders so that crime stays higher and budgets continue to increase.

The drug war never made logical sense in the first place it was primarily put in place due to racism, religious fanaticism, to halt the production of hemp and kept in place to insure the profits of big pharma, big alcohol and tobacco. 

Money and Control... It's almost always the same story. 


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