Crime Chicago unveils new gun violence plan after another violent weekend
Gun violence in America: Do something
Across the country there is a long list of ideas on how to best reduce gun violence during this nationwide surge. California Assemblymember Marc Levine, a Democrat, is working on a bill that would place a 10% tax on guns and 11% tax on ammunition sales in California. © Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 19: A person holds a "Stop the Violence" sign during the "Stand Up Against Gun Violence" press conference and rally at Bronx Borough Hall on July 19, 2021 in South Bronx in New York City.
Following anotherin Chicago in which 56 people were shot, 11 fatally, the Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown announced a new strategy to combat gun violence.
Brown said the department will create a team of 50 officers to target gun traffickers, straw buyers, unscrupulous licensed firearms dealers and anyone who facilitates the flow of illegal guns into the city.
"The point of this investigations team -- which is new and unique, and a first in its class -- is to get the gun before it hits the streets at the trafficking level," Brown said at a news conference Monday. "These third parties need to hear me loud and clear: We're coming for you, and we're going to try to charge you with the highest charge we can, if not in the federal system, then at the state attorney's office."
NRA Celebrates 25 'Bad Gun Control Bills' Killed in Florida Amid Rise in Violent Crime
"Remember this as the scourge of gun violence continues to grow in Florida and across the country," one Florida state representative responded."As we celebrate passage of three (3) pro-gun bills in the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, we should also be celebrating the fact that 25 very bad gun control bills were killed (10 House Bills & 15 Senate Bills) without ever getting to the House or Senate floor," Marion Hammer, the gun-rights group's longtime Florida lobbyist, said in a statement to members.
The new strategy comes amid an 11% increase in shootings in Chicago this year over the same time period as last year.
Aiming his words at those who purchase illegal guns used in crimes, he said, "Do not buy guns for violent people is our message, or you will pay the price for them by doing what we hope to be serious time."
"Whatever they're paying you to go buy these guns ... it's blood money," Brown said. "Blood is on your hands, and we're coming for you."
He said the new gun investigations team will work closely with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as state and federal prosecutors in an attempt to demolish any gun pipelines into the city and bring purveyors of illegal firearms to justice.
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Says City 'Can't Arrest Our Way' Out of Surging Violence
Chicago has recently seen a sharp spike in gun violence. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot says officials need to make community investments to address the problem.Lightfoot added that city officials are looking at possible investments in Chicago's West Side. Just on Wednesday, the West Side saw two mass shootings that happened within minutes of one another.
Brown said one of the major focuses of the team, which the department began assembling in the spring, will be to trace every illegal gun seized in Chicago to the person who sold the weapons to the perpetrators or those who bought the guns on their behalf.
He said the federal government will also being sending a firearms strike force to the city as early as this week to help curb the flow of illegal firearms.
The superintendent also announced that a 24-hour gun trafficking tipline is being established and will be supported by a $1 million fund allocated by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to "give Chicago residents a voice to remove these tools for violence from the streets of Chicago." He said "significant payouts" will be made for tips that lead to arrests, indictments and convictions of gun traffickers and others that deal in illegal firearms.
Chicago murder suspects reportedly roam streets on electronic monitoring at alarming rate
The federal effort by the Biden administration to reduce gun violence on the streets of Chicago will be ineffective if the local prosecutor continues to allow the release of murder and attempted murder suspects back onto the streets to wreak future havoc, according to a retired police sergeant. "What is needed are stricter laws and the enforcement of existing laws," retired Chicago police Sgt. Peter Koconis told Fox News. "Catch and release does not work. There has to be a penalty when these gang members are arrested for using or carrying a weapon.
"Someone in this community knows who that is, and we want to incentivize you coming forward anonymously," Brown said. "We want to incentivize you to help the police department protect your community by giving these people up."
Brown began the news conference by saying that over the weekend, Chicago police officers seized 113 illegal guns and that, so far this year, a total of 6,629 illegal firearms have been taken off the streets -- a 26% increase from 2020.
"Every gun recovery is a potential deadly force encounter, and every gun recovery is a potential saved life," Brown said.
The superintendent added that 3,264 people have been arrested this year on gun charges.
He also announced arrests in two homicides. In one, a 17-year-old juvenile and an 18-year-old man were arrested in the slaying of a 73-year-old Vietnam vet during a July 14 carjacking. In the other, a 31-year-old suspect was arrested in the fatal execution-style shooting of a man on July 17.
But Brown said seizing illegal guns and solving homicides has clearly not been enough to stem the tide of gun violence overwhelming the city, noting the number of shootings that occurred over the weekend.
56 people shot, 11 dead, in Chicago over weekend
At least 56 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, leaving 11 dead.One of the incidents this weekend occurred outside a party on Saturday in the Austin neighborhood, according to ABC 7 Chicago. Six people were shot, including a 12-year-old girl and four teenagers. The victims were hospitalized in fair condition.A 49-year-old man was reportedly shot and killed in Greater Grand Crossing on Sunday night. According to ABC 7 Chicago, the man was speaking to someone in a vehicle when someone inside opened fire. He was struck multiple times in the body and pronounced dead at a Chicago medical center.
Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said one of the shootings occurred on Saturday night at a graduation party in the Austin neighborhood on the city's West Side and left six people injured,.
"This was a group that had gotten together previously to celebrate a graduation party, and it was very successful, a really good group of kids and individuals and no issues," Deenihan said. "So they decided since they had a successful gathering the first time, then 'why can't we do this again?'"
He said that during the party, a vehicle drove up, and two gunmen opened fire on the group mingling outside.
"There was no motive as to anybody in this group was involved in any criminal activity," Deenihan said.
No arrests were made in what Deenihan described as a mass shooting.
Brown said police in Chicago and across the nation are seeing a surge in drive-by shootings rivaling a level not seen since the 1980s and 1990s.
He said that while the new gun investigations team will be "relentless" in its effort to intercept illegal firearms before they are used on the streets, he added they will need held from the community and "a lot of luck."
"It's always better to be lucky than good, but we're going to be very good at this," he said. "If we are successful, and I believe we will be, it will save untold lives getting these guns out of the hands of people in the first place instead of waiting until after they use the gun or after we make an arrest and recover the gun. We'll be on the front end of this to get the traffickers."
Woman Angry About Drive-Thru Being Closed Dies in Shootout With Police .
The incident also left two police officers injured, and one remains "in very, very serious" condition, according to Dolton spokesman Sean Howard.Police were called to Baba's Famous Steak & Lemonade in the Chicago suburb of Dolton around 1 a.m. Employees had reported that a woman was upset that the drive-thru was closed for the night and had a gun. Town officials said that the drive-thru had been closed for half an hour prior to the incident.