After a Fourth of July weekend in Chicago that saw at least 60 people shot, 11 fatally, the city’s Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, blames weak gun laws for the bloody holiday.
“There’s too many guns coming in and too little punishment going out,” McCarthy said at a press conference Monday.
Local media tallies of the Fourth of July weekend violence vary, with the Chicago Tribune reporting as many as 82 wounded, 14 dead. According to the Tribune, There were 24 shootings reported in Chicago on Sunday alone.
Currently, Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are banned in the city. There are no gun ranges in Chicago. And a new ordinance was passed in June requiring gun stores to video-record sales and limit buyers to one firearm purchase per month. The new ordinance replaces a previous measure that outright banned gun stores in Chicago, which was deemed unconstitutional in January.
The restrictions on gun stores in the city have done little to stem illegal gun purchases outside the city limits, according to police.
“Something has to happen to slow down the straw purchasing that happens in this state,” McCarthy said Monday. He said his office has collected 3,400 illegal handguns this year.
To date, there have been 1,129 shooting victims in Chicago this year, according to the Tribune’s Crime in Chigagoland project. The Tribune’s data also shows that after an initial drop in shootings during the first few months on 2014, spikes in violence over the last several months has put 2014 back on par with last year in terms of the number of shooting victims.
Fourth of July weekend gun violence has been particularly problematic for Chicago. ABC News affiliate WLS reported that 12 people were killed and 75 were injured during the same weekend last year. However, the Fourth of July fell on a Thursday in 2013 instead of a Friday, so last year’s numbers accounted for one extra day. “We had the same level of shootings as we did last year, which is unacceptable,” McCarthy said Monday. “Something’s gotta change.”