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In the city of Chicago, where Barack Obama has a home, locals are deeply concerned about one issue that he and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney failed to talk about throughout the presidential campaign - gun control and gun violence.
The city's 438 homicides this year have already exceeded last year's total of 435. It's the first annual increase since 2008, and higher than both New York City and Los Angeles.
Many, such as Tio Hardiman, executive director of CeaseFire Illinois and the creator of the Violence Interrupter Initiative, thinks the homicide number may pass the 500 mark this year.
He told China Daily that he blames the increased gun violence in the Windy City on an increase in gang warfare.
"Violence is like an infectious disease. It has become the norm for a lot of people," he lamented.
Although leaders in Chicago and across Illinois, including Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have been fighting for gun control, Hardiman said the basic problem facing officials is stopping what has become a thriving black market for guns.
But gun-related violence is not just a problem for Chicago.
According to Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, on an average day in the US 32 people are murdered and another 64 people wounded in gun-related incidents.
On one weekend, two weeks ago in Chicago, 30 people were shot and five died in several deadly incidents across town.
Although Chicago, with the third-biggest population in the country, has the nation's toughest gun control laws, Daley said tougher laws are urgently needed, such as a mandatory reporting of lost guns to the authorities and stricter background checks on buyers of all firearms.
Without such moves, Daley believes selling guns on the street will continue to be a growth business.
Last Friday, officials in Cook County, which includes Chicago, approved a tax on firearms which will be used to help pay the healthcare costs of those affected by gun-related violence.
The $25 levy on each firearm sold is believed to be the first of its type in any major US city.
However, Daley believes dealing with gun violence goes much deeper. "It comes down to a lot of basic things. We have to find jobs for people, to make sure that children at home have a family and have an alternative and don't turn to violence in the first place," she said.
(China Daily 11/09/2012 page11)