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Easter weekend was the bloodiest weekend of the year.

Chicago has recorded 90 gun deaths - a total of 465 victims of violence by gun, deaths and serious injuries - since the beginning of 2014. Of these, 48 victims were 16 or younger and two-thirds were under 30 years old.

Gun deaths are epidemic here - more than 500 homicides in 2012, most due to gunshots. The number dropped to "only" 415 gun deaths in 2013, paralleling decreases in other violent crimes.

Last weekend - April 18 to 20 - warmed up after a harsh winter ... and the shooting season renewed itself in earnest.

From last Friday evening to midnight Sunday night, eight people were killed and at least 36 more were wounded. In one incident, five of the wounded were children, ages from 11-15, shot from a passing car on Sunday evening on Chicago's south side. As the Chicago Tribune reported:

The children had been playing at a park near an elementary school and were walking home when a car pulled up and someone asked if they were in a particular gang, family members and police said.

One relative said they had said they were not in the gang; another said shots rang out before they could answer. The gunman hit four girls and a boy.

Last year, the Chicago PD reallocated resources to put more attention on gang violence. Statistically, it seemed to be having an effect. Now, the US Attorney is dedicating 16 of its 160 lawyers to a new Violent Crimes section. That announcement is below the orange lines ...

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From the headlines:
... [T]he announcement Monday that [US Attorney Zachary Fardon] has created a new Violent Crimes section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office clearly reflects how gun violence has become a high-profile issue for an office better known for combating terrorism and public corruption. ...

[Spokesman Randall] Samborn said prosecutors will use [Federal] drug and gun statutes as well as extortion and money-laundering laws to go after criminal crews responsible for violent acts, including bringing conspiracy prosecutions similar to racketeering cases. While no new resources have been tapped, the restructuring will allow prosecutors to attack the problem with more agility, he said.

“This is putting a group of talented attorneys together and telling them that their mission is to help the city and the district tamp down violent crime...and to use all the tools and strategies at their disposal that are going accomplish that mission,” Samborn said.

There is much to be said for a two-pronged approach. Local PD to investigate, prosecute and develop programs to address the factors that foster gang gun violence. And the Feds, because the problem is clearly bigger and multi-jurisdictional and they can more readily look across state lines.

The Chicago PD needs help. As the Guardian reported:

Ronald Holt, the commander of the Chicago police department’s special activities division, said that the city was witnessing “fratricide” among young men who had come to believe “that the only way to resolve a conflict is to get a gun and go shoot to kill”.

"To tackle gun violence where it is overwhelming communities with the extraordinary loss of lives at an alarming pace, we must deal with it as a social disease and health issue,” Holt, whose 17-year-old son Blair was shot dead on a bus in 2007, told the Guardian in an email.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy ...
... compared the task his department faces as it tries to tackle gun violence to “drinking from a firehose”.

“We can do things to improve what’s happening, but until such time as we get some help with the gun laws in the state of Illinois, we’re up against it,” McCarthy told CBS News. But Illinois law has recently moved towards looser gun controls.

Pro-gunners point out that all this violence occurred over years when Chicago had very strict laws virtually forbidding guns and gun carry in the city. Anti-gunners respond that guns and ammunition are so readily available in other states and nearby localities in Illinois - due to ineffective patchwork gun laws - that there's been a steady flow of illegal guns from elsewhere.

Straw purchase trafficking, parking lot gun shows, no restraints on amateur dealers who sell semi-automatic weapons to the street in high volumes, permissive laws in states a day's car ride there and back - these are just a few of the facilitators of urban gunfire. Judge Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals might be able to write with a straight face that the residents of a Gold Coast high rise need weapons to protect themselves on the street more than in their home-condos, but cases of bystander peril or having a perp take that gun away are far more likely than a Good Guy/Bad Guy confrontation which the right Guy wins. (The 7th Circuit case is Moore v. Madigan, which forced concealed carry on the state of Illinois.)

Mary Schmich, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, capsulized gun violence in Chicago in these terms:

Among the confounding aspects of Chicago's gun violence is that, despite the jolt that comes with every new shooting, every new killing, every new lament for a lost life and a troubled city, the violence is far from new. ...

A generation later, what's changed are the names, the exact addresses, the specifics of the grief and fear, but not the bigger story or the root causes or the blame game.

It's the guns. It's the gangs. It's the parents. It's poverty. It's the lack of jobs. It's culture and family structure and prison policy. In reality, it remains all of the above. It's a nesting doll of problems.

Guns, when all is said and done, top the list. Guns are the enablers of most of the homicides in this city. No, no single solution is evident. But more guns in the hands of civilians is pretty certainly not any of the right answers.

Those bells toll for us all.

The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. If you would like to write about firearms law please send us a Kosmail.

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Originally posted to TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Firearms Law and Policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, WakeUpNeo
    Illinois gun laws Chicago has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it defines as assault weapons, as well as magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.[35] Chicago residents must "immediately" report a firearm that is stolen or lost, and must report the transfer of a firearm at least 48 hours in advance.[36] In a home where a person younger than 18 is present, all guns must be secured with a trigger lock, or stored in a locked container, or secured to the body of the legal owner.[37] Chicago also prohibits the sale of firearms within city limits.[38] On January 6, 2014, a federal judge ruled that the city's prohibition on the sale of firearms is unconstitutional.[39] The judge granted the city's request for six months to pass new laws regulating gun shops.[40]

    Cook County has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it has defined as assault weapons, and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.[41][42] Residents must report to the county sheriff within 48 hours any firearms that are stolen, lost, destroyed, or sold or otherwise transferred. The sheriff may share this information with other law enforcement agencies.[43][44] Licensed firearms dealers must provide information to the county regarding purchasers and the guns they purchase, and receive approval before conducting sales.[45] An individual may not purchase more than one firearm in a 30-day period.[46] In a home where a person younger than 21 is present, all guns must be secured with a trigger lock, or stored unloaded in a locked container separate from the ammunition, or secured to the body of the legal owner.[47] In Cook County, local laws, such as those of Chicago, take precedence over county laws that regulate similar matters.[48]

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:17:10 PM PDT

    •  The new IL law opened up concealed carry ... (4+ / 0-)

      ... in a boggling number of public places, as envisioned in the Moore case I referred to above. That is the area that is most worrisome to me because the general public in our dense urban area has had no experience with legalized carry.

      The after-midnight crowd in the clusters of neighborhood bars is boisterous enough without the prospect of arming some of them. Establishments getting 50% or more of their revenues from alcohol are off limits to gun carriers under state law and the others, like other kinds of public venues, can post No-Guns signs. Still, enforcement will well be, ah, problematic.

      The discretion, judgment and restraint required to handle civilian weapon carriers is beyond most cops' experiences, too. The new state law has reportedly resulted in 16 hours or more of basic training for law enforcement. We are asking a lot of those men and women.

      We're in a wait and see mode.

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:05:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The era of Concealed Carry in Illinois (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, 88kathy, Acktiv, WakeUpNeo

    has ushered in a chilling new swath of gun deaths and rampant violence.

    I can think of no other law that so directly affects the gun violence occurring in downtown Chicago.

    Truly, the Appeals courts has opened up veritable gates of bloodshed.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:33:52 PM PDT

    •  What nonsense (6+ / 0-)

      You imply these new deaths are caused by Concealed Carry?

      I will bet you not one of those deaths was caused by a legally registered firearm.

      •  But if not, why would the Diarist (0+ / 0-)

        include it in his diary? It must be germane to the gun violence problem in Chicago.

        Look, I tried to be reasonable...

        by campionrules on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:46:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because the diarist feels it will exacerbate (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber, Angryallen

          the gun violence as we go forward?

          The law just went into effect this January... and  most applicants have not even received their permits yet.

          Here's an article from downstate covering this process:

          Concealed carry permit process 'moving right along'

          Those who were first in line for licenses expected wait times of 90 to 120 days, the statutory timelines that are contingent upon whether electronic fingerprints were submitted to expedite the process of verifying identities and performing background checks. The shorter approval time was reserved for those who paid extra money to have the electronic fingerprints recorded.
          So, there are likely very few permits already issued.
          •  Yes, concealed carry is new. 5000 people have ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WakeUpNeo, JJ In Illinois

            ... received weapons carry permits, and many times that number of applications are pending.

            So far as I know, none of the gang-related violence or the double homicide to date have been attributed to the new laws.

            It is germane, however, because more guns on the streets is not a response to the problem in the first place. It's a new problem. In the short run, it diverts resources from the job police are expected to do. And it unquestionably makes responding to quarrel calls a whole different situation.

            Where gun proliferation is the problem, more guns are definitely not the solution.

            2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 03:32:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, and you know what else leads to violence? (3+ / 0-)

      The weakening of community bonds by destroying what has always been a unifying and galvanized core in Chicago communities: its public schools.

      I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the ’50s and ’60s, and everything you did, everyone you knew, revolved around your neighborhood school. My mother was active in PTA and the people we got to know then are still our friends. My mom died in her 80s in 1997, but many of her friends from the old neighborhood are still alive and kicking in their 90s. I have known them all my life. These bonds are powerful. Rip out that school and replace it with a charter school to which parents, teachers, students and neighbors have no bond and over which they have no control, and slowly the community implodes. We walked four blocks to school. Now little kids have to go miles.

      You know what? Fuck you, Rahm Emanuel.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:00:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is this snark? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber, Boris49

      or unintentional satire?

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:13:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, LG, charter schools are a very hot issue. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This sidetracks the diary, true, but the community bonds issue is a valid point when it comes to dealing with gang influence.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 03:34:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

      A handful of permits have been issued so far.  Between making appts for the classes and having the paperwork transverse the system, I've read the backlog is many months long.  There are less than a few thousand permitted owners as of now.

      •  50,000 applications; 5000 granted so far. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's not "a handful". Yes, the backlog is long, but much of it is due, according to the State Police, to errors or missing information on the applications, or no application fee ($10) submitted with the forms.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:23:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Garry McCarthy cooked the books (0+ / 0-)

    That's the only way the murder rate went down in 2013.

    It might have gone down a little..  but not as much as they claim..

    Have you seen Chicago Magazine's article "The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates"?

    •  It's a good, thorough article. Crime stats is... (0+ / 0-)

      ...  a loaded topic. In most professions, those who count the beans can - if they choose - govern outcomes.

      Being a word guy, I don't trust numbers, no matter how many decimal points they have, until I know the source, who vouches for them ... and who thinks they benefit from conclusions drawn from them. Those things considered, you make a very good point!

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:51:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary, BTW.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I would add one more thing to the list of causes that need to be addressed.

    The "no snitching" code prevalent in Chicago's highest crime neighborhoods.  it boggles my mind that anyone can think it is better to keep quiet than to get rid of these gangs.  I know there is a risk of personal danger when giving info on the gang members, but it can be done anonymously to a certain extent.

    •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You expect people in Chicago's worst neighborhoods to risk their lives cooperating with police they don't trust for good reason?

      What do you know about living in Englewood or Lawndale? For that matter, what does Rahm Emanuel know about living in Englewood or Lawndale? Maybe he should go live there for a while. Maybe his little golden children should go to one of those charter schools he thinks are so wonderful.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:07:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You make two separate points. One, on distrust... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Achillios0311, JJ In Illinois

        ... of police, is fair and being addressed as best human beings can. It's a difficult historical burden to overcome. I hope parents worried about gang violence can be more supportive of dealing with Ron Holt and his section than be as angry about the situation as you seem to be.

        As for living in those neighborhoods, neither Mayor Daley did, nor their predecessors. And I don't think Mayor Emanuel's children belong in this dialog.

        Charter schools are a very contestable topic. Closing a neighborhood's public school hurts kids and their parents and the fabric of the community is indeed at risk for their absence. But with respect for the strength of your feelings, that's for another diary.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:39:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I grew up in Englewood, thank you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        West Englewood.. but that section of the city was my stomping grounds.

        The point is, they protect the shooters with the no snitch code.  If they want safer neighborhoods, they have to be willing to participate in cleaning up the gangs and shooters.

        I didn't say they were responsible for the violence.  The diarist lists a whole slew of reasons for the violence. But, the people that keep silent are, in part, responsible for the continuation of it.

  •  My heart breaks for Chicago (3+ / 0-)

    20 years ago New York had murder rates like this.

    It sounds like the new US attorney intends to go after organized crime in a more focused way. Good for him.

    Picked to head the section was Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron DeWald, a former Cook County prosecutor who throughout his career has worked closely with Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies, Samborn said.

    The move is part of a larger restructuring of the office's approximately 160 prosecutors and $34 million budget undertaken by Fardon, who took office in October. Other changes include the creation of a specialized securities and commodities fraud section as well as stepping up efforts to combat the growing problem of cyber crime, Samborn said.

    Its not unusual for an incoming U.S. attorney to reorganize an office after taking over, finding efficiencies and shuffling priorities.

    The last major restructuring came in 2002 under Fardon’s predecessor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who a year after the Sept. 11 attacks announced a new focus on terrorism cases as well as the creation of a major case squad and units on complex financial fraud and public corruption. A decade earlier, newly appointed U.S. Attorney Jim Burns brought in a key assistant to help reorganize the office in the aftermath of allegations of misconduct in the El Rukn prosecution.

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by LilithGardener on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:26:38 PM PDT

  •  The solution is a ban on guns (0+ / 0-)

    It is very simple.

    The problem is we have too many stupid ignorant people who oppose the obvious solution.

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