Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said today that he would like to see gun owners in Illinois have to report when their weapons are stolen, lost or sold – steps he said would lower the number of firearms in the hands of criminals.
Chicago cops this year have confiscated nine times as many guns per capita as their counterparts in New York and three times as many as police officers in Los Angeles, McCarthy said.
“The No. 1 source of those firearms is not Mississippi. It’s not Indiana. It’s not Wisconsin. It’s Cook County,” McCarthy said.
“We keep trying to pass comprehensive gun legislation,” he added. “And my recommendation is to really start small. The fact is that if there was a requirement to report the loss, transfer or theft of a firearm in the state of Illinois, that would significantly limit the number of firearms in the city of Chicago.”
McCarthy said the lack of a requirement fuels so-called straw purchases, in which people with a valid state Firearm Owner’s Identification Card buy guns and resell them to others, oftentimes gang bangers in the city.
When Officer Del Pearson was shot in March the gun “was purchased by a 52-year-old woman in the state of Illinois in 1972. She died in Little Rock, Ark. in 2006,” he said. “Where has that gun been since 1972? And the problem is they don’t have expiration dates. It’s not like milk. That gun from 1972 is just as deadly in 2012 as it was in 1972.
“We’ve got to do something about the flow of firearms here. And I also want to add that politically, obviously, this is a hot-button topic, but this is an issue for Chicago, and this is an issue for all of us, and this is a battle that’s being fought in Springfield as we speak. The fact is, we have to slow down the flow of guns into this city,” McCarthy added.
McCarthy also talked about a national “gun show loophole,” under which ostensible gun collectors can sell a weapon without doing a background check. “Now, that makes no sense, because that collector is motivated to sell those firearms,” he said.
At those shows, people can buy semi-automatic weapons they can easily be modified with a kit readily available for purchase on line, he said.