Story Summary

Reducing gun violence in Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy are working to decrease gun violence in the city of Chicago.

Most recently, Emanuel asked city pension and retirement fund managers to divest from gun makers, while McCarthy told the media of five changes he’d like to see in an effort to reduce gun violence.

The mayor and superintendent’s efforts come as Chicago battles continued gun violence. Last year, homicides jumped 16 percent in Chicago to 506.


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Funeral services were held today for a Roberto Clemente High School senior who was shot to death two weeks ago.

18-year-old Frances Colon was shot in the back while coming out of a store in the 1100 block of North Pulaski on February 15.

Through hugs and tears, the family of  Colon said their final goodbyes.

Colon and  her 16 year old sister Selena shared a room… shared their dreams… a bond, she says cannot be broken by her sudden death.

On February 15th, a single gunshot to the back killed Colon… An honor roll senior at Clemente High School.. As she left a store on north Pulaski.

34 year old Larry Luellen, Jr is charged in the murder.  Police believe Luellen fired the fatal shot during a drug dispute with someone else.  Colon was not the intended target.  Luellen is being held without bond in Cook County Jail.

Colon is the third Clemente high school student killed this school year.

From a rally in downtown Chicago to a hearing on gun safety, people on both sides of the concealed carry debate are voicing their opinions.

About 200 demonstrators gathered at Federal Plaza Friday afternoon with a simple message: They want universal background checks on all gun sales.

“It’s that simple, this is the first of a three-point plan of the president’s, but this is the one we can act on today,” said Nellie Sires with Organizing for Action Illinois.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle addressed the crowd. She spoke about her efforts on behalf of Cook County to pass sensible gun-control legislation, but she says more needs to be done by the federal government.

“There’s only so much the county governments can do. We need stronger national laws,” she said at the rally.

Earlier Friday, at a hearing on gun safety and conceal carry, advocates on both sides addressed state lawmakers.  Chicago Police Superintendent McCarthy testified that Chicago police can’t keep up with the illegal firearms flowing into the city.

“I’m optimistic that it’s not just going to be a free-for-all, everyone can have a handgun. I believe what’s going to happen is that there’s going to be restrictions on it, where you have to show cause to receive a firearm,” McCarthy said.

National Rifle Association activists say that doesn’t mean citizens should be denied the right to carry and conceal a weapon.

“What business does the superintendent of the city of Chicago need deciding who gets to exercise their rights or not,” said Todd Vandermyde with the NRA.

An Evanston mother arrived in Washington D.C. tonight for the President’s State of the Union address.

Carolyn Murray lost her 19-year-old son in November but was a gun control advocate long before that.

Justin was the unintended target of a shooting just steps from his grandmother’s home in Evanston.  His shooter has never been found.

He often helped Murray organize events and a gun buyback program to tackle gun violence in their community.

Murray is hoping his story will inspire legislators to act on a gun control bill.  The mother of three says she understands people’s need to protect themselves but thinks there is also a need to control illegal guns on the streets.

She is one of a handful of Chicago parents, who lost children to gun violence, in D.C for the State of the Union address tomorrow.

Chicago leaders announce anti-gun violence plan

911 calls bus stop ad

This bus stop ad, located at Nagle and Higgins, is one of many around the city to bring awareness to the Chicago Police Department’s new 911 response protocol.

New rules took effect Sunday with the way Chicago Police respond to 911 calls.

Officers will now take reports over the phone for crimes where no one is in immediate danger and the offender is no longer at the scene — such as a burglary, car theft or damage to property.

74,000 reports were taken by phone last year.

That number is expected to double with the new rules.

The change is expected to free up 44 officers a day to focus on more serious crimes.

January’s homicide total surpasses the number of days we are into this year, and in response, the number of Chicago police officers on patrol will spike too.

Beginning this weekend, cops currently on desk duty will be reassigned to the beat. The first wave includes 60 officers, and a total of 200 additional officers will be working the street by the end of March.

Civilians will be taking over the officers’ administrative duties after the most violent start to a year in more than a decade. 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton’s murder Tuesday was the 42nd of 2013. This year’s homicide rate is 20 percent higher than even last year, one in which 506 were killed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the reassignment plan is a swift way to respond to the bloodshed efficiently. Since taking office, he says more than one thousand officers have been reassigned from desk duties to the street.
The Fraternal Order of Police opposes the plan, one which President Mike Shields calls a “shell game.”  He argues that Chicagoans really don’t want civilians guarding drugs, guns and cash in the police evidence room, for example. He says these jobs are for skilled officers.

The police department will immediately move 30 officers to patrol Area Central, and 15 will be reassigned to both Area North and Area South.

No one understands the impact of the gun violence plaguing the city of Chicago better than a local woman who has lost all four of her children in fatal shootings.

“Four, no more. They took all of my babies to gun violence,” said Shirley Chambers. “I don’t understand it.”

Her son Ronnie Chambers, 34, was fatally shot in the head early Saturday while sitting in a van in the 1100 block of S. Mozart Street on Chicago’s west side. She lost her son Carlos, 18, in 1995. She lost her daughter LaToya, 15, in 2000, and her son Jerome, 23, was shot and killed a few months later.

It was a violent weekend in Chicago with at least 7 people killed in shootings on Saturday alone. For the third week in a row, police held a press conference on Monday to show off confiscated weapons and push for tighter gun laws. Police say they have seized 574 firearms, so far this year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a proposal to the city council today that would have criminals serve six months of jail time for certain gun violations instead of three.
Emanuel also said he favors President Obama’s plan outlined yesterday, part of which calls for limiting the number of bullets in a gun clip.
Other parts of the ordinance Emanuel is proposing includes jail time for those who fail to report their guns are lost, stolen or transferred to a new owner.
The mayor said he doesn’t want to wait for federal action on the president’s proposals.

Will the proposed gun legislation make a difference in our area, improve Chicago’s homicide rate? That all depends on who you ask.

At Illinois Gun Works in Elmwood Park, bullets are flying tonight like they do every night at the shooting range. And so are gun owner’s opinions about the president’s proposed gun legislation.

Don Mastrianni owns the shop and can’t keep guns or ammunition in stock. His empty cases say it all. He has  6 or 7 guns for sale right now. He typically stocks hundreds at a time. He credits politicians for making sales so brisk.

Mastrianni and others say the presidents proposed legislation squeezes the wrong people and threatens the constitution.  He also says it makes the prices of guns go up and the availability of ammo go down. Legit buyers who buy legally are looking for clarification.

But Chicago leaders are praising President Obama’s push for gun control, as the city struggles with spikes in the homicide rate. The proposed legislation has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with reducing crime and killings right here in Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel took the opportunity today to ask a graduating class of police recruits to do their part –like the president is doing his part– to change the statistics. Emanuel thinks the president’s proposed gun legislation is a great first step for Chicago.

Chicago police superintendent Gary McCarthy makes a distinction in the debate about gun laws. One he thinks is greatly misunderstood.

“When people talk about stricter gun laws, it’ not about the legal guns, it’s about illegal gun purchases.  That’s where we are getting lost here,” he said.

Cook County officials concur. Sheriff dart and county board president Toni Preckwinkle relieved aid in the form of a political rescue is coming their way.

“This should have been done decades ago,” Dart said.

From the Sandy Hook school shooting to daily violence in Chicago, the debate over gun control is front and center. President Obama will release his gun violence package on Wednesday.

The politics of guns in America was the topic of a panel discussion including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Tuesday night.  The event was organized by the University of Chicago’s Institute of  Politics, founded by former Obama advisor, David Axelrod.

One Chicago family that lost three loved ones to gun violence in recent years is asking lawmakers to pass sensible gun control.

“No family should have to live like this in a civilized society. We are slaughtering each other,” said Rev. Yancey Bady. He joined relatives, religious leaders, and anti-violence activists for a press conference at the west side gas station where his cousin, Gregory Bady, Jr., was fatally shot, early Monday morning.