The horrific mass shooting that took place in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas has rocked the nation and stirred up more pleas for gun control. But right-wingers – including the governor of Texas – are using a racist trope about the city of Chicago to deflect from the issue.
Right-wing politicians and media have begun to use a misleading and racist trope about gun violence in the city of Chicago as a way to deflect from the grisly Tuesday (May 24th) mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. At a press conference held in Uvalde on Wednesday (May 25th), Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “I know people like to try to oversimplify this…There are ‘real gun laws’ in Chicago. There are ‘real gun laws’ in New York. There are real gun laws in California…[T]here are more people who were shot every weekend in Chicago than…in schools in Texas.”
Other right-wing pundits and figures soon began to parrot the same trope about Chicago online. It has long been considered a racist dog whistle against Black people. It also is a way to ignore the heavy influence of groups like the National Rifle Association blocking gun control laws. Many have pushed back against that narrative, like Brian Tyler Cohen who displayed statistics on Twitter about the fact that lax gun laws in Republican-led states have fueled the rise in gun usage in Chicago. “Gun laws in red states enable gun violence in places like Chicago. This is why we need *national* gun reform. Don’t let Greg Abbott distract you,” he wrote.
Another strong pushback came from Cardinal Blaise J. Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, who took to Twitter and shared his thoughts in a thread: “The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai,” the archbishop said. “The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.”
Human rights lawyer Qarim Rashid also sent out a tweet that pushed back against the push by rightwingers to deflect by using the “What about Chicago” trope, highlighting the Republican Party’s obstruction of federal gun control laws:
Texas has been highly scrutinized for being lax towards guns ever since Governor Abbott signed into law seven measures expanding gun rights a year ago. One of the measures made Texas a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” that would compel it not to follow new federal regulations concerning gun control.