Amid Calls for Gun Violence Legislation, Chicago Sees Deadliest Month in 20 Years | Sojourners

Amid Calls for Gun Violence Legislation, Chicago Sees Deadliest Month in 20 Years

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August 2016 was Chicago’s deadliest month since August 1996, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In August 2016, 384 shootings occurred in the city, resulting in 472 shooting victims and 90 fatalities.

According to the Chicago Tribune, city police superintendent Eddie Johnson believes the mass distribution of guns in the city shoulders some of the blame for the new startling statistics.

“We’re doing our part,” Johnson said in an interview. “We’re closing in on 6,000 recovered guns this year…That’s more than New York and L.A. combined.”

Since last year, the Chicago Police Department’s number of gun seizures has risen nearly 22 percent. Despite this, the city saw more homicides in 2016 than in the cities of New York and Los Angeles combined, according to the New York Times.

The Chicago Police Department is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for suspected misconduct in their methods of law enforcement, primarily their interactions with African-Americans. The investigation was announced on Dec. 7, 2015, two weeks after the police released video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

On Aug. 31, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner voiced his opposition to establishing a state of emergency in reponse to Chicago's gun violence, stating that sending the National Guard to the city "may exacerbate other problems."

This news comes in the midst of more calls for gun violence prevention nationwide. On Sept. 1, several Democrats in the U.S. Senate called for their Republican colleagues to address gun legislation, more than two months after several House Democrats staged a sit-in on the floor of the chamber. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to respond to the city's recent rise in gun violence in an upcoming "mid-September" address. "I want to have a discussion where the police are part of the solution in making changes," he said.

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