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5,000 Guns Taken From Chicago's Streets This Year, Police Say

By Kelly Bauer | July 24, 2017 8:36am | Updated on July 24, 2017 11:55am
 Chicago Police officers have removed more than 5,000 guns from Chicago's streets this year.
Chicago Police officers have removed more than 5,000 guns from Chicago's streets this year.
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CHICAGO — More than 5,000 guns have been taken off Chicago streets so far this year, police said, meaning they're confiscating an average of 24 guns per day.

Officers have been seizing illegal guns and making 32 percent more gun-related arrests than they did last year in a bid to stop the city's gun violence, according to a Chicago Police news release. Officers have also made 10 percent more arrests for murders this year than last year, police said.

Supt. Eddie Johnson, speaking at Monday news conference, said the seized guns and change in arrests was due to the hard work of officers. He wants to create a mindset where people think if they pick up a gun "you'll pay the price for that," he said.

"Let's face it, ... we recognize education matters, housing matters, mental health treatment matters, but at the end of the day there still has to be a real consequence if you decide to pull a trigger on a gun," Johnson said.

Johnson spoke in Chatham, where Chicago Police officers arrested a 21-year-old man for illegally possessing a handgun this weekend — even though the man was already on parole for a second gun offense, Johnson said.

Some of the guns behind Chicago's problems come in from Wisconsin and Indiana, where gun laws are looser, Johnson said. People will go there or send a significant other, like a girlfriend, to buy guns, and then they distribute or use them in Chicago.

And guns can also be stolen and then used in crimes, but there's nothing in place that forces gun owners to report a stolen gun, Johnson said.

"We actually need to have a law that enables us to track handguns after that person purchases it," Johnson said. "Until we get a better tracking system for these things, we'll continue to see these things occur."

The superintendent also slammed the use of "military-grade weapons" in Chicago. Those guns have been found "sprinkled" throughout Chicago and in other major cities, Johnson said.

Shootings have been significantly lower so far this year than they were in 2016, but there have still been more than in past years and the number of murders is about the same as last year.

Johnson credited the drop in shootings to technology upgrades in the police districts hit hard by gun violence in previous years.