The city of Chicago has been making headlines across the country due to recent spikes in violent crime. Gun violence remains a major problem throughout the region and law enforcement officials continue to look for ways to combat the issue. As part of that effort, city officials recently conducted extensive research regarding thousands of firearms used in the commission of crimes and recovered by the Chicago Police Department. The findings were released early this week as part of the city’s second “Gun Trace Report.”
Four Years of Recovered Guns
This year’s Gun Trace Report looked at guns seized by the CPD between 2013 and 2016 and compiled as much information about the weapons as officials could find. The data included the types of guns, where they were purchased, who originally purchased them, any subsequent legal purchases, and more. The report also offered suggestions on how to reduce gun violence in the Chicago area.
Approximately 27,500 guns were recovered by police during the four years covered by the report, and more than half of them were purchased legally—at least initially. According to the city’s findings, about 15,000 weapons were traced to more than 5,000 federally licensed firearms dealers in Illinois and a number of other states.
Out of State Acquisitions
While two specific gun dealers in Illinois —including one in Riverdale and one in Lyons—were the original source of nearly 11 percent of the guns studies, about 60 percent were initially purchased out of state, with 21 percent coming from Indiana. Officials have indicated that the relatively lax gun laws in Indiana make it fairly easy for a Chicago resident to drive across the border and obtain a firearm. The process in Illinois, by comparison, is among the toughest in the nation.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has gone on the record in support of federal laws that make it impossible for “gang member and criminals” to obtain assault weapons and other dangerous firearms. The report expressed similar sentiments, pointing out that the city faces the “challenge to address legal guns with a loosely-regulated national gun market.”
As one might expect, the report found that original purchaser of a gun is not always the same person who uses it to commit a crime. In fact, the person who was found in possession of a gun used in a crime was not the original buyer in 95 percent of Chicago PD cases. Officials say that there are several factors that contribute to this high number, including undocumented secondary market sales and straw purchases.
A straw purchase is one where a person who can legally buy a gun does so on behalf of another who cannot buy one or who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction. The buyer will often claim that the gun has been lost or stolen if it turns up later. The Gun Trace Report recommended the passage of new legislation to help reduce straw purchases and gun theft.
Call Us for Help
If you are the subject of an investigation related to illegal firearms or a gun used in the commission of a crime, you need legal guidance. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to get the help you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.