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Dick Durbin finds the missing link to Chicago gun violence. Not the police/prosecuting bad guys!

Way to go Dumbass! Allowing the police to do their job and actually prosecuting violent offenders isn't the missing link! Nor is not releasing violent offenders charged without bond the answer.

Nope, with over 300 million guns in circulation nationwide, Dick will waive a magic wand and make Chicago safe again.

BTW: which ever side of gun control your on, if you believe that making guns illegal in urban areas will move the dial, your going to be disappointed in the lack of results.

Sen. Dick Durbin: Federal law is the missing link in solving Chicago’s gun violence



JAN 07, 2022 AT 4:56 PM

Opinion content—editorials, columns and guest commentaries—is created independent of news reporting and is exclusive to subscribers.

A memorial card for Chicago police Officer Ella French during a prayer service in Chicago on Sept. 3, 2021. French died after being shot during a traffic stop.

A memorial card for Chicago police Officer Ella French during a prayer service in Chicago on Sept. 3, 2021. French died after being shot during a traffic stop. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

The year 2021 will be remembered as one of the deadliest in recent memory in Chicago and Illinois.

The tragic deaths of nearly 800 victims of gun violence in Chicago are a grim chapter of heartbreak. I remember two in particular.

In August, two little girls were shot after Sunday church outside their grandmother’s house on the Northwest Side. According to their father Michael, a CTA bus driver: “They shot her in the heart. She didn’t even get a chance to fight.”

Serenity Broughton, 7, died while her 6-year-old sister, Aubrey, miraculously survived. Their grandmother Regina said: “I’m lost. I’m lost … they were my life, my everything.” The grandmother said the girls were looking forward to their very first plane trip in just two days.

And that same month Ella French, a 29-year-old Chicago police officer, was gunned down during a traffic stop in West Englewood while her partner, Carlos Yanez Jr., was seriously wounded in the same incident.

My wife and I went to St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapelin Beverly View to pay our respects to Officer French. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of grief from hundreds of uniformed officers standing and waiting patiently to file through the school chapel. In the back of the church was an enlarged photo of Officer French holding a stray puppy she had picked up on one of her first assignments. That beautiful image of her smiling face is still with me.

I know that the lion’s share of the responsibility for law enforcement is with state and local government.

But the federal branch has its own criminal jurisdiction, resources and a reputation on the street for seriousness.

A recent Chicago hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, pointed to three key areas where we need a more aggressive federal response.

First, Chicago is awash in illicit guns that are being used to shoot and kill. Last year, at least 4,422 people were shot in Chicago, according to Chicago Police Department data. Of the 797 homicides in Chicago reported by CPD last year, 745 — or 93% — were by gunfire. By comparison, the most recent FBI national statistics found that 77% of homicides in 2020 were committed with firearms.

At our hearing, University of Chicago Crime Lab Executive Director Roseanna Ander pointed out in her testimony that while several types of violent crimes are down nationwide, shootings and homicides are surging. “We have a gun violence crisis,” she said.

The tsunami of illicit firearms in Chicago and across America includes too many guns bought from gun dealers in straw purchases. Felons who cannot pass background checks use others with clean records to make these straw purchases. This is the deception reportedly used to buy the gun that killed Officer Ella French. It’s time to prosecute this reckless conduct aggressively. A bipartisan bill I have introduced will move straw purchases from a paperwork offense to a serious federal crime.

Second, the outrageous stories of carjacking across the region demand an intervention. I join Sheriff Tom Dart in appealing to car manufacturers to give us additional tools to cut short these deadly joy rides.

But we need to do more. At the hearing, I asked U.S. Attorney John Lausch what specific steps his office is taking in conjunction with local law enforcement to combat carjackings. I was pleased to hear him respond that this issue has been a significant focus of his office and that he is working with CPD and federal law enforcement agencies to identify patterns and cases that can be prosecuted federally. I’m working with colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation that would remove obstacles to federally prosecuting violent carjacking offenses.

Finally, as resolute as we must be in enforcing the law, we cannot arrest our way out of this maddening death spiral. We need street and school-based strategies to identify trauma at an early stage and apply public health interventions that prevent troubled kids from becoming reckless, hardened gang members.

Whether through a mentor, teacher, counselor, or trusted community leader, we have the tools to help our kids and young adults cope with the emotional scars of traumatic upbringings and set them on the path for success. I’ve passed bipartisan legislation in Washington to support this, and am working now to expand federal funding for these programs.

We also need to invest in reducing poverty and promoting economic opportunity in the hardest-hit neighborhoods that bear the brunt of Chicago’s gun violence. And we need to bolster evidence-informed community programs that seek out and support those most at risk of violent encounters. These investments will pay off in lives saved and communities revitalized.

I’m not naive. We can’t save every shooting victim.

But I have seen approaches that have proven they work to turn lives around. In our anger and fear over the safety of our city, let’s not fail to use every tool to shut down the violence and death.

In 2022, the Feds need to step up and be a bigger part of the solution.

Dick Durbin is a U.S. senator from Illinois.

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