As summer approaches, a time when Chicago shootings usually spike, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. has asked the Department of Justice for more support in preventing and combating gun violence in the Windy City.
In a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Durbin urges the DOJ to strengthen the Chicago Police Department’s ability to further implement gun violence prevention initiatives.
Durbin specifically suggests using more Strategic Decision Support Centers, intelligence hubs where data analysts can quickly review surveillance and gunshot detection information, and asks for more access to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, which would help police match ammunition casings left at crime scenes to the guns that were used.
The senator also calls for more funding for the Justice Department’s Bulletproof Vest Partnership in order to better protect police officers in the line of duty.
“Prompt support from the Justice Department for these initiatives can save lives in Chicago as we approach the summer months when shootings typically increase,” Durbin said.
Lastly, Durbin urges the DOJ to support the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The measure would make the straw purchasing of firearms its own class of federal crime and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
“I am concerned about the absence of federal laws specifically prohibiting gun trafficking and straw purchasing, and I am a cosponsor of bipartisan legislation, the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, that would close these gaps in our federal laws and encourage increased federal investigation and prosecution of gun trafficking networks,” Durbin said of the bill.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been 231 homicides and 1,278 shootings so far this year in Chicago.