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Elizabeth Pearson March 11, 2010

Political Feasibility Analysis Final Paper

To: The Office of Mayor Richard M. Daley
From: University of Chicago Crime Lab
RE: Repealing of Handgun Ban in Chicago
Date: March 11, 2010


The purpose of this memorandum is to evaluate the political feasibility of reducing

violent crime in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on McDonald v. Chicago,

which will in all likelihood overturn the handgun ban in Chicago. Because the final

verdict will be released in June of this year, the City of Chicago and Chicago Police

Department must quickly formulate a plan and build support. Proper analysis of the

situation requires an understanding of the background and historical timing of this case,

which will inform the possible avenues the mayor can take. The experience of

Washington, DC and its mayor Adrian Fenty, which went through a similar struggle two

years ago, will be invaluable in tracing a feasible path for Chicago and Mayor Richard M.

Daley. In addition, this memo will analyze the policy initiators and political environment,

power base, timing, opportunity, and the risks involved in order to reach a feasible and

effective path to deter violent crime in the future.

Given the above factors, we will recommend that Mayor Daley abandon gun control laws

and the state and federal arenas in the wake of this ruling. Instead he should implement

targeted policing in the Chicago Police Department. This tactic could be controversial

among Chicago residents and alienate Daley’s gun-control power base. Therefore he

should distance himself from the issue so he can keep promoting gun control, and appoint

a relatable spokesperson from the CPD’s rank and file to seek out community input on

implementation. Though this may seem like a series of unprecedented moves for Daley,

this strategy continues his and the city council’s efforts in recent months to be more


Background and Historical Timing

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In the 200-plus year history of the Second Amendment, it had never been used to

successfully overturn a state or local law until the recent DC handgun ban case Heller v.

District of Columbia in 2008. The Second Amendment was adopted along with the rest of

the Bill of Rights in the late eighteenth century, reading: “A well regulated Militia, being

necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,

shall not be infringed.” At the time the Bill of Rights limited the federal government

only.1 After the Civil War the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments were

ratified to protect freed slaves from states’ attempts to restrict their new freedoms. The

Fourteenth Amendment states:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges
or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive
any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor
deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Soon after the Supreme Court determined that the vague “privileges and immunities”

clause only applied to national rights and stopped referencing it in their decisions.2 After

the 1939 case United States v. Miller, the Second Amendment was understood to apply to

militias rather than individuals.3

In the latter half of the 20th century the gun rights movement began to use the Second

Amendment as a central rallying point.4 Legal academics also began to consider the gun

rights protected by the Second Amendment as separate from state militias.5 In 2001 a

federal appeals court declared that the Second Amendment included a personal right to

keep and bear arms that was unrelated to militia service.6

This trend, as well as individual attempts on the part of citizens and lawmakers to change

DC’s handgun ban, led to the Heller decision. The US Government had tried to pass

measures to substantially weaken or overturn the ban in the 1980s and 1990s, but they

1 Neal Conan, “Supreme Court Hears Chicago Handgun Case,” Talk of the Nation (Washington, DC:
National Public Radio, March 2, 2010), http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124243589.
2 Neal Conan, “Major Decisions Anticipated From Supreme Court,” Talk of the Nation (National Public
Radio, October 5, 2009), http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113506897.
3 Phillip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Adam Samaha, “Gun Control after Heller: Threats and Sideshows from a
Social Welfare Perspective,” U of Chicago Law and Economics (February 6, 2009),
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
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were defeated or failed to come up for a vote.7 Several residents had also tried to

challenge the handgun ban through lawsuits, but US District Judges dismissed the cases,

sometimes because the plaintiffs were found to lack legal standing.8 In 2006 the District

was considering a deal with the US Congress to trade the handgun ban for a Senator with

voting rights, one of Mayor Fenty’s priorities. However, in 2007 the US Court of Appeals

found that one of the plaintiffs in a previously dismissed case did have legal standing, and

on June 26, 2008 the Supreme Court struck down the ban on handguns in DC, along with

a requirement that all guns, no matter the type, be kept unloaded and with trigger locks.

The Supreme Court did not, however, strike down every regulation relating to guns,

conceding that the Second Amendment is “not unlimited” and offering a list of

“presumptively lawful regulatory measures,” including atypical weapons, certain kinds of

people, sensitive locations, sales conditions, safe storage, and concealed carry.9 By

refusing to give a single principle or theory to guide gun control legislation in the future,

the Court seemed to suggest that this new litigation territory will have to mapped out one

case at a time. However, it is unclear whether this ruling will have much of an impact

across the country. Many, including Stephen Halbrook, an outside counsel for the NRA,

believe that “most laws will stay on the books,” because they are “regulations and not

outright bans.”10 On the other hand, some worry that even very loose gun regulations,

such as taxes on guns, may eventually be ruled unconstitutional.11

Several lessons can be drawn from DC’s reaction to the ruling. Fenty began reviewing his

legislation options based on DC’s other gun laws in the months before the ruling was

announced.12 Fenty and the City Council expressed anger about the ruling, but Fenty

7 Meg Smith and Leah Carliner, “A History of D.C. Gun Ban,” The Washington Post, June 26, 2008, sec.
Metro, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/17/AR2007071700689.html.
8 Ibid.
9 Phillip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Adam Samaha, “Gun Control after Heller: Threats and Sideshows from a
Social Welfare Perspective,” U of Chicago Law and Economics (February 6, 2009),
10 Libby Lewis, “NRA Eyes More Targets After D.C. Gun-Ban Win,” Weekend Edition Sunday (National
Public Radio, June 29, 2008), http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92008363&ps=rs.
11 Phillip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Adam Samaha, “Gun Control after Heller: Threats and Sideshows from
a Social Welfare Perspective,” U of Chicago Law and Economics (February 6, 2009),
12 Paul Duggan and David Nakamura, “D.C. Government Faces a New Reality,” The Washington Post,
June 27, 2008, sec. Metro, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
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accepted it, deferring to the authority of the Supreme Court. They moved quickly to put

registration requirements in place, including periodic background checks and a five-hour

course on gun safety. Fenty also expressed his belief that repealing the ban would lead to

more violence.13 The Chief of Police sent a congenial memo to DC residents explaining

the new regulations.14 Since the ruling Mayor Fenty’s approval rating has gone up in the

area of crime reduction.15 Interestingly, media stories about this jump in approval, no

doubt caused by the unprecedented and otherwise unexplained drop in crime in the

summer of 2009, did not mention the end of the handgun ban.

The DC handgun ban was an appropriate opening to this new legal territory because, in

the words of Robert Weisberg, head of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, “the D.C.

gun law was the most draconian in the country.”16 Oak Park and Chicago are now the

only two jurisdictions remaining in the country with outright handgun bans. Other

Chicagoland towns, such as Morton Grove, dropped their handgun bans after the DC case

was decided. However, because DC is a unique area under federal jurisdiction, the ruling

does not automatically apply to state and local governments. With Chicago the next easy

target for litigation, the National Rifle Association searched for plaintiffs. Though

Chicagoland’s law is not as draconian as DC’s—some guns like rifles are still allowed,

and there is no trigger lock or unloading requirement—the same five-to-four Supreme

Court majority that made the Heller decision persists. As professor Sheldon Nahmod of

the Chicago-Kent College of Law said, “the Supreme Court did not go as far as it did in

Heller just to be stopped by state and local governments.”17

Handgun bans came to Chicagoland in the 1980s after decades of high-profile killings in

the US and problems with riots and violence in Chicago. Richard J. Daley begged the

White House in 1966 to do something about gun control, claiming that Chicago residents

13 Ibid.
14 Marcia Davis, “Police Chief's Memo on Supreme Court Ruling,” The Washington Post, June 27, 2008,
sec. D.C. Wire, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2008/06/police_chiefs_memo_on_supreme.html.
15 “D.C. Poll,” The Washington Post, 2010, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
16 Bill Chappell, “Q&A: D.C. Gun Ban Overturned; What's Next?” (National Public Radio, June 26,
2008), http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91931889&ps=rs.
17 Richard Steele, “SCOTUS to Overturn Chicago's Gun Ban?,” Eight Forty-Eight (Chicago Public Radio,
March 3, 2010), http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=40388.
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were going to the suburbs, where no registration was required, to purchase guns.18

President Johnson told Daley I that gun control laws would not pass Congress, which also

happened to many of Daley I’s proposed state laws. In 1967 the state ordered that gun

owners be registered in Illinois, and in 1968 the City Council ordered the registration of

all firearms in Chicago. During the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther

King, Jr., Daley temporarily banned the sale of guns and ammunition. It took the quick

succession of assassination attempts on President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II

in 1982 to spur the City Council to pass a handgun ban. Aldermen Richard Mell and

Marian Humes voted against the ban and questioned its effectiveness.19 Though a few

other Chicagoland towns banned handguns around the same time, Chicago’s ban did not

spur sweeping change around the region, which would have compounded its


The efficacy of handgun bans is always in question. Bans are very difficult to enforce.20

They also have an ambiguous effect on deterring crime. A survey of prisoners indicated

that 80 percent of them agreed with the statement that: “a smart criminal always tries to

find out if his potential victim is armed.”21 On the other hand, two thirds of prisoners

claimed that they were more likely to carry a gun themselves if they thought their victim

would also be armed. On the whole, more handguns in society mean more fatal injuries.

But we don’t know how many Chicagoans already have handguns or will buy them

immediately after the ban is lifted. Experts have argued back and forth on this issue, but

one thing is clear: repealing the handgun ban in Chicago is not guaranteed to increase

violent crime, a fact that most gun control advocates have ignored.

Political Environment and Policy Initiator

18 Robert Loerzel, “The Evolution of Chicago's Handgun Ban,” Eight Forty-Eight (Chicago Public Radio,
March 1, 2010), http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=40337.
19 Ibid.
20 Phillip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Adam Samaha, “Gun Control after Heller: Threats and Sideshows from
a Social Welfare Perspective,” U of Chicago Law and Economics (February 6, 2009),
21 Ibid.
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Chicago and the District of Columbia share many similarities aside from their unique

handgun bans. Both are urban areas with high rates of violent crime—in 2008 DC’s

murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate per 100,000 was 31.4, the fifth highest in the

country.22 In the same year Chicago’s was 18.0, the fifteenth highest. Both are extremely

liberal cities with similar ethnic makeup. Both also have a city council made up of wards

with defined geographical boundaries. And both have mayors who have taken hits in the

polls recently, especially among blacks, who are more likely to be affected by violent

crime. Mayor Fenty’s approval rating has fallen from 72 percent in January 2008 to 42

percent in January 2010.23 Mayor Daley’s approval rating as of April 2009 is at an all-

time low of 41 percent.24 However, Daley refused to take responsibility for the plunge,

blaming the economy.25 The Chicago poll did not ask specific questions about policy

areas, but in the same poll 80 percent of respondents would like to see “more money for

police and community crime fighting,” and 15 percent thought crime was the number one

policy concern for the city after jobs and education.26

Comprehensive handgun bans remain the least popular method of gun control in the US,

though most Americans value gun control in general.27 Polls and literature suggest that

between 35 and 42 percent of American households have at least one gun.28,29 According

to a 2007 Gallup Poll, 68 percent of respondents opposed a handgun ban.30 In a

Washington Post poll in June of 2008, 72 percent of respondents supported the Supreme

22 US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services

Division, “Violent Crime,” 2008 Crime in the United States, September 2009,
23 Nikita Stewart and Jon Cohen, “D.C. Mayor Fenty's approval ratings plummet, poll finds,” The
Washington Post, January 31, 2010, sec. Metro, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
24 Josh Kalven, “SEIU Poll: Daley Approval Rating At 41%,” Progress Illinois, April 22, 2009,
25 Dan Mihalopoulos, “As Olympics vote looms, Daley struggles,” Chicago Tribune, September 13, 2009,
26 Josh Kalven, “SEIU Poll: The Public's Spending Priorities,” Progress Illinois, April 23, 2009,
27 Phillip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Adam Samaha, “Gun Control after Heller: Threats and Sideshows from
a Social Welfare Perspective,” U of Chicago Law and Economics (February 6, 2009),
28 Jon Cohen, “SCOTUS: DC Gun Law,” Behind the Numbers, The Washington Post, June 26, 2008,
29 Phillip Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Adam Samaha, “Gun Control after Heller: Threats and Sideshows from
a Social Welfare Perspective,” U of Chicago Law and Economics (February 6, 2009),
30 Ibid.
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Court decision to lift the DC handgun ban.31 However, in January of 2008, before the DC

case was debated, 76 percent of a nationwide sample said they supported the DC law.32 In

a March 2008 poll (after the case was debated) that support had shrunk to 59%.

Respondents were split on whether it was more important to protect gun rights or control

guns—47 to 50 percent. Other polls echo these results. A poll for the Chicago case in

particular has not yet been released.

Mayor Daley has long railed against guns in Chicago, wholeheartedly supporting his

father’s ban and calling for new gun control legislation and initiatives nearly every year.

As recently as this past Monday, Daley expressed his hope that the Supreme Court would

not repeat the decision it made in 2008.33 However, he has started to prepare for the worst.

On Monday he called for a slate of new state laws that would restrict gun sales and enact

more serious penalties for criminals who use them. In past years he has unsuccessfully

backed changes to Illinois law that would require background checks for people buying

guns in private sales, ban assault weapons, and limit handgun purchases to one per person

per month, a common practice in the Chicagoland area. This year he is trying to make

knowingly selling a weapon to a known gang member a Class 1 felony in Illinois, and

advocating for “micro-stamping” of bullets that would connect ammunition to the guns

that fired them, a similar law to the one that passed this January in California. At the

federal level Daley has backed reinstating the assault weapon ban that lapsed in 2005,

closing a loophole that has allowed criminals to buy weapons at gun shows, and repealing

gun manufacturers’ immunity to some kinds of lawsuits.

Daley drew clear lines between himself and his opponents on Monday, equating them

with “gang bangers,” “drug dealers,” and “thugs who basically terrorize our

communities.”34 In recent years communities on the receiving end of gang violence have

31 “D.C Gun Ban Decision: Poll and Comment,” The Washington Post, June 26, 2008, sec. D.C. Wire,
32 “The Washington Post Poll: Most Say Amendment Covers Individuals and Militias,” The Washington
Post, March 16, 2008, sec. Nation, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
33 Hal Dardick, “Daley trying again with gun bills in Springfield,” Clout St., March 8, 2010,
34 Ibid.
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begun referencing terrorism when talking about gang members. In the same press

conference Daley also said: “The aggressiveness of the gun advocates is just one reason

it’s more important than ever that we work for common-sense gun laws…”35 In other

words, he’ll fight harder just because they are fighting harder. Daley has never been

known to change his mind once he has taken a certain stance on an issue—if he is

convinced that gun control is necessary to lessen violent crime, he will stick with that

message. Luckily for Daley, he can assume that his city council will follow his lead.

During his tenure, the city council has always voted with him with a wide margin. There

is only one party in Chicago city government, and only one viewpoint—the mayor’s.

Several organizations oppose Daley at the state level. The Illinois State Rifle Association,

who, along with the Second Amendment Foundation, filed the McDonald case on behalf

of the plaintiffs, said the measures Daley advocated on Monday would only make it more

difficult for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.36 Though no groups lobbied the DC City

Council on behalf of gun rights, Daley’s outspoken refusal to give up gun controls could

rouse these organizations’ ire. Gun rights organizations know that they would have more

luck in the Illinois state legislature than on the DC City Council, since many gun control

bills in the past have failed there. If Daley continues to lobby the state government, he

must also fight against downstate Republicans who hunt. Downstate Illinois residents and

politicians often see Chicago as an overbearing, overly liberal force, and will question

why the entire state should change its laws for the sake of Chicago’s crime problem.

In addition, the four plaintiffs of the Chicago case could come back to haunt Daley.

Heller, the plaintiff in the DC case, was a likeable and relatable choice. He is a retired

security guard, clearly knowledgeable about guns and gun safety, who just wanted to

have a handgun in his home for protection from DC’s chronic violent crime issues. Otis

McDonald, the main plaintiff in the Chicago case, is an elderly African-American man

with a similar appeal—having moved to Chicago during the Great Migration, he has lived

in his South Side neighborhood for decades, watching it slowly degrade.37 A gun would
35 Ibid.
36 Ibid.
37 Colleen Mastony, “The public face of gun-rights battle,” Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2010, sec. News,
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make him feel safer. The same is true of Colleen and David Lawson, who were scared by

an attempted break-in, and Adam Orlov, a retired police officer.38 Because none are

stereotypical gun rights advocates, their appeal to the Supreme Court may carry over to

the debate in left-wing Chicago. Readers’ letters responding to Colleen Mastony’s

detailed profile of McDonald in the Chicago Tribune were overwhelmingly sympathetic

to him and his story.39

In sum, though outright gun bans are unpopular and Daley’s approval ratings have

slipped dramatically in the past year, if Daley stays the course he will continue to vocally

pursue gun control measures at the local, state, and federal level. However, the tight

control he has over the city’s political environment does not extend to the state and

federal level, where he has been unsuccessful with gun control bills in the past. His vocal

support of gun control could win him enemies in the Illinois State Rifle Association and

Second Amendment Foundation, who may call upon their well-liked plaintiffs to be

spokespeople for gun rights. From a feasibility standpoint, Daley should focus his efforts

in the city, where he does not have to engage with his opponents.

Power Base

Daley is often his own power base, though he recognizes the value of reaching out

to typical residents and bringing them into the fold. In Monday’s press conference he

surrounded himself with Chicagoans who had lost children to gun violence.40 However,

there are several avenues that skeptical Chicago constituents could use to make their

voices heard, which could turn against Daley or be his biggest asset. Many Chicagoans,

especially those in violent or crime-ridden neighborhoods, attend their monthly beat

meetings through the community policing initiative (CAPS). Residents who see little

38 “Chicagoans Hope Stories Will Help Overturn Gun Ban,” Associated Press, March 1, 2010,
39 “Voice of the People, Feb. 9,” Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2010, sec. Opinion,
40 Hal Dardick. “Daley trying again with gun bills in Springfield.” Clout St., March 8, 2010.

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improvement in their neighborhoods can be vocal about their frustrations and don’t

hesitate to blame the Chicago police. Because Chief of Police Jody Weis is so closely tied

to Mayor Daley, that’s where they often direct their anger. Though the police know to be

loyal to the mayor, if enough residents cause enough trouble in these meetings, they may

start to speak out. Aldermen could hear more from their constituents and start to break

ranks, and the media may take notice. Daley’s approval ratings could fall further, though,

given his reaction to the last dip, he may not take that seriously.

The mayor should reach out to typical constituents to explain his policy choices and seek

their input through community meetings, hearings, or electronic means. Though this

strategy is by no means typical for Daley, the City of Chicago has taken similar measures

in the past. When the school closings and turnarounds instituted by former CEO of

Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan inspired public backlash, the city held a series of

hearings that stopped closings and turnarounds for several schools. Even in Chicago, the

public can sometimes control the policy domain.

Whatever he does, Daley should also be aware of the residents who have come to rely on

him as a gun control advocate. Even though his hands are tied by the Supreme Court’s

decision and the current political climate, if he stops pushing gun control altogether, they

may accuse him of being lax on violent crime. Daley must find a way to keep their

support through the next few months.

If he continues on his current path, Daley must also be wary of the media, which has not

been on his side lately. Recent stories have questioned the effect of gun control on

decreasing crime. Mastony’s positive Tribune piece on McDonald, and other articles like

it, may further erode support for gun control. While the media has traditionally gone

along with Daley’s message, some outlets in particular have the potential to question

anything he does or simply amplify complaints from residents.

While Daley has had the bully pulpit in Chicago for his entire time in office, recent polls

indicate that he has begun to slip. Through CAPS meetings, block clubs, and calls to their

aldermen, residents could make their discontent known if they feel Daley is handling the

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situation incorrectly. The media could also throw a wrench in his plans by questioning

the efficacy of his policy choices. Though this is an entirely new tactic for Daley, he must

tap the power of residents and the media, aligning them to his position.


Because Daley no longer has a handgun ban to work with, he has the opportunity

to enact some truly innovative and effective legislation to control violent crime.

However, this will require thinking outside of gun regulation, and therefore giving up a

strategy Daley has held to for decades. There is also a funding constraint due to the

recession that may take some innovative responses off the table.

This memo recommends that Daley comprehensively implement targeted policing

through the Chicago Police Department. Targeted policing involves identifying high-

crime areas and flooding them with police resources that focus on illegally carried

firearms. Police stop people for minor offenses, such as open alcohol containers or traffic

violations, and check for weapons. The goal is to make it more costly for criminals to

carry firearms, deterring them from carrying guns in public places where many assaults

happen, without the need to regulate private ownership.41 The program also promotes

safety by taking more guns and gun carriers off the street. A recent study on Pittsburgh

suggested that the policing program reduced shots fired by as much as 34 percent and

gunshot injuries treated in hospitals by 71 percent while actual arrests remained steady.42

Police were able to effectively deter crime without straining the already overbooked

prison and court systems.

Another method of targeted policing involves retaliating against gang activities, even

nonviolent ones, after the gang has been implicated in a violent crime. Fierce retaliation

encourages gang members to police themselves, preventing violent crime. However,

there are problems with this method. First, by the time the police take action the violent

crime has already been committed. Also, retaliation requires advanced of intelligence

41 Jacqueline Cohen and Jens Ludwig, “Policing Crime Guns,” in Evaluating Gun Policy (Washington,
DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003).
42 Ibid.
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about the gang and manpower that could be used elsewhere. Arrests for minor crimes

could strain the court and prison system, driving up costs. Also, this method ignores non-

gang related violent crimes. Finally, this method is less visible than the first. While in

some ways that might be positive, it could lead the public to question whether anything is

being done at all. Therefore this memo recommends the first method of targeted policing,

which targets individuals carrying guns in public.

The opportunities for pursuing targeted policing outweigh the risks. Violent crime is not

expected to go up after the handgun ban is repealed in the first place; if Daley implements

targeted policing, it will go down even further, providing a tangible public benefit and

increasing his approval ratings and credibility. Chicago could become a model for

innovative policing methods, much like New York City.


Daley faces several risks in enacting targeted policing, including a backlash from

the targeted communities, and the loss of his left wing, pro-gun-control base. With this

method, there is a likelihood of rousing public anger over the police’s intrusion into their

lives. Also, because most high crime areas are minority neighborhoods, people may

accuse the police of racial profiling. The recommended targeted policing methods above

are legal, but an intense public relations campaign must accompany their implementation.

Hopefully the public will immediately see the increased police presence and activity in

their area, followed by a decrease in violent crime, and recognize that the city is doing

something about crime.

By not focusing on gun laws, Daley also risks losing support from his left-wing

base, which has come to rely on him to speak out against guns. Daley is known for

constantly pushing for tighter and tighter gun control. However, this is not an avenue he

can take any longer. He must refocus the issue to focus on preventing violent crime, not

just through gun control, and bring his base and the city council along with him at the

same time.

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On the other hand, by taking these recommended steps, Daley sidesteps future

lawsuits and his opponents at the state level. Supreme Court invited future gun control

lawsuits when writing the Heller decision. Focusing on targeted policing instead of

tighter gun restrictions lessens these risks. So far none of Daley’s proposed legislation for

this year runs the risk of being ruled unconstitutional any time soon. But just as gun laws

are difficult to enforce, in this new legal climate they will also be more difficult to uphold

in court. By focusing on targeted policing instead of gun control, Daley removes Chicago

from the gun control litigation arena. Also, by keeping his strategy within the city, Daley

dodges the risks of a high profile, costly loss to the Illinois State Rifle Association,

Second Amendment Foundation, and the downstate Republicans. Keeping the battle local

will enable Daley to control policy where it remains in his domain.

Though Daley normally doesn’t face risks when implementing new policies, he may risk

public backlash because residents feel threatened by the change, and he may lose his gun-

control base. He can mitigate these risks by launching a public relations campaign to

support his choice. In the next section this memo will address appointing a spokesperson

for targeted policing, which will allow Daley to continue to fight for gun control if he

wishes. Daley also avoids two risks by focusing on targeted policing instead of gun

control: targeted policing is less likely than gun control to attract litigation, and he keeps

his policies out of the state and federal arena where he could encounter pushback.

Public Policy Strategies

To implement targeted policing in Chicago, Daley should consider multiple

strategies, focusing on coalition building and consultation, but also using policy analysis.

Because this is such a huge shift in strategy for him, he may find it easiest to appoint a

sort of Targeted Policing Czar to lead the effort on the ground. In the event of a sudden

increase in violent crime after his measures are in place, he may need to use secrecy and

deception to ride out the storm.

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Daley typically uses exclusionary strategies by bypassing his critics, or easily builds a

coalition with the city council, giving the image of an inclusionary strategy. However,

Daley has recently attempted to be more transparent and inclusionary. For example,

Daley is allowed fill open City Council seats in the 1st and 29th Wards by appointment. In

the past he has done this in consultation with outgoing aldermen and the ward’s

Democratic committeeman.43 This year the city posted an online form where residents

could apply, a major first step in opening up government to Chicago’s citizens. We

recommend that Daley continue to be more transparent and inclusionary by consulting

residents, holding hearings, and persuading Chicagoans to comply with targeted policing

through a public relations campaign. Though his coalition with aldermen shows no sign

of breaking up, with visible and vocal public support the alderman and police department

will get on board with the new plan.

In persuading residents to come on board, Daley must refocus the issue away

from gun control and toward violent crime in general. For him, preventing violent crime

has been about gun control, but he now needs to expand his toolkit to include other

methods. However, as he has in the past, he may need to pass the job to someone else to

successfully and convincingly refocus the issue without losing his gun-control base. In

2009 dozens of Chicago Public Schools students died in violent crimes. Instead of turning

to gun control and more metal detectors in schools, Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron

Huberman instituted the innovative “culture of calm” strategy in CPS schools and

targeted mentorship and support to the 250 students most likely to be killed by youth

violence. Because Huberman is the one enacting this original plan, Daley can stay on

track with his own message. Some think that Daley does this in order to later place the

blame on agency chiefs if their plans don’t work. Another interpretation is that Daley is

freeing his commissioners and chiefs to innovate and take credit for their own successes.

If Daley does the same in this issue, he can pander to the gun-control base and stay on his

own agenda while innovative things happen in the police department.

43 Hunter Clauss, “The Mayor's Announcing His Aldermanic Picks, and We Don't Get to See Who
Applied—Yet,” Clout City, March 9, 2010,
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In this case, also, Daley should immediately appoint a messenger who also acts as a

community organizer and ombudsman. Chief of Police Jody Weis would be an obvious

choice, but his selection by Daley was quite unpopular and as an outsider he does not

have the popular support Daley needs to rely on. Daley should choose someone within

the Department’s ranks who has been a longtime employee, is a native of Chicago, and

who enjoys widespread public support in the area he patrols. To avoid the media turning

against the spokesperson, he should be the most unlikely and amiable person possible—

never appointed by Daley to any other position. This person should be responsible for

announcing and building support for the targeted policing program. He should announce

that all CAPS meetings for one month will address targeted policing and include training

on what to do if stopped by a police officer. He should be visible at those CAPS and

block club meetings, taking suggestions and building coalitions. The spokesperson should

call on existing policy analysis to demonstrate the effectiveness of targeted policing, even

bringing in rank and file policemen, like him, from other cities that have implemented it

to explain the procedure, provide anecdotes, and express their concern about Chicago’s

crime. They key is to be both transparent and accountable, both a spokesperson and an

organizer. If residents feel that targeted policing is hurting them, and that the police

department and city are being unresponsive about their concerns, they will fight back.

Citizen concerns must be actively solicited and openly acknowledged by city officials,

who should visibly try to address them. This is a very different strategy for Daley, whose

city government, especially the police department, is a rigid, slow-moving and large

hierarchy. Because this is a sensitive and deeply important issue, Daley must appoint

someone who can spend his hours on the ground, building support and guiding

implementation through the coming spring and summer.

Though Daley should not expect a spike in violent crime after the ban is repealed, he

should be prepared for one. If that happens, residents may blame the overturned handgun

ban or simply hold Daley and Weis accountable. If this happens, Daley should fall back

on his usual tactic of dismissing negative press. Because he has distanced himself from

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targeted policing, he is still in a position to blame the Supreme Court’s decision or the

federal government’s lax gun laws in general. He could also bring up anecdotal evidence

that targeted policing is working. This might seem deceitful, but sometimes spikes in

violence are out of the city’s control. For example, weather is a strong predictor of

violent crime. The police can only hope to anticipate nice weather and be prepared.

Through a combination of persuasive and inclusionary strategies, utilizing a credible

spokesperson, policy analysis, public hearings, and CAPS meetings, Daley can build

support for targeted policing and implement it more easily. In case of a spike in crime,

Daley is still free to blame others. At the end of the day, though, Daley may have to use

deception, dismissing the spike in crime, to keep on task. This is not a new strategy to

Daley. Under no circumstances should he give up the proven method of targeted policing.


Due to the failure of most handgun ban efforts in the past, the new litigation

climate in the US, and the strength of his opponents at the state level, Daley should

mostly abandon gun control as his preferred deterrence against violent crime. Instead he

should implement targeted policing, a low-cost strategy with proven results. Because

targeted policing is controversial, he will need to garner the support of Chicago’s

residents through consultation and coalition buildings. These are not Daley’s traditional

tools of choice or his strong suits, so this memo recommends that he appoint a

spokesperson to educate the public and drum up support. In general, it may be time for

Daley to consider new strategies of implementing policies. More people in Chicago

disapprove of his performance than approve. Targeted policing could become a model for

other cities, and appointing a Targeted Policing Czar to implement it could become a

model for policy implementation for Chicago’s future.

Targeted policing is the most feasible reaction to the repeal of Chicago’s handgun ban

given the historical timing, current political environment, opportunity, and risk. Because

Daley himself as the policy initiator, along with the potentially disruptive power base, are

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the two biggest obstacles to this plan, Daley should appoint a spokesperson to take over

implementation and bring the public on board.

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