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Long before Newtown and the ongoing wave of mass shootings gripping the U.S., the fiction of safe suburbs versus dangerous cities had been upended. The urban white flight of the 1960 and 1970s stopped and even reversed in recent years as 24-hour cities appeared safe and secure, especially in upscale neighborhoods. Today young families may move out of cities back to suburbs, looking for better public schools, but today they rarely leave out of fear of violence or for a safer environment.

In the gateway cities, aggressive police tactics, including stop and frisk, have helped reduce gun related violence, albeit there’s still too much especially in impoverished neighborhoods riven by drug gangs. The big cities also tend to have stricter gun registration laws and city dwellers are less likely to be interested in hunting—shot guns and assault rifles might be cumbersome accessories for protecting yourself in a studio apartment anyway. And it’s hard to tote an AK-40 on the subway without being noticed or find a shooting range to practice. On a per capita basis, gun country concentrates away from cities towards the suburbs and rural America. But the guns that come into cities are typically purchased in laissez-faire gun jurisdictions where the Second Amendment is part of the gospel and then brought back illegally to wreak havoc.

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