GREATER GRAND CROSSING — More than 100 shootings in 2013, including a homicide as recent as this past weekend, could have been prevented under "stronger gun laws," Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday.
It's a theme Chicago's top cop has hammered away at during press conferences to discuss gun seizures and violence in Chicago's neighborhoods.
The Chicago Police Department's weekly gun recovery tour stopped in the South Side's Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood Monday to announce that, as of January, CPD has confiscated about 4,000 firearms citywide.
Greater Grand Crossing, despite a non-fatal shooting Friday, leads the city in shooting reductions since last year, McCarthy said. The superintendent reiterated that "murder is down" 27 percent and shootings are down 39 percent from 2012.
But state laws that release criminals back onto the streets and allow for sentences such as short-term boot camp are the real focal point, McCarthy said. As of 2013, his department counted 109 cases of shootings in which the victim or shooter would have been locked up if laws calling for "stiffer punishments" were on the books.
About 30 of those cases, including one over the weekend, were fatal shootings, said police spokesman Adam Collins.
According to McCarthy, until "meaningful action to adjust our laws" is made, Chicago Police will arrest gun-toting criminals and confiscate firearms just to have those would-be shooters end up back on the street.
While stopping short of placing blame on judges, McCarthy called the state's criminal justice system into question.
"Let's talk about the priority in the criminal justice system and whether is supports the reduction of gun violence," McCarthy said. "The possession of illegal cigarettes, in some cases, is the same as the possession of a firearm. ... It's a failed system right now."
McCarthy calls for a three-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal gun possession and truth in sentencing for gun crimes in Illinois, so that offenders would have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.