Any night can explode into gunfire in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy knows that well. On New Year’s Eve, he went on patrol there with one of his officers, as he occasionally does, and seized an illegal gun from a car during a routine traffic stop.
It was just one in a sea of weapons the end up in Chicago’s South Side and West Side, more often then not with the serial numbers filed off.
Last year, the city hit 506 homicides, and this year, killings again are stacking up at a rate faster than one a day.
However, McCarthy acknowledged aiming at assault weapons misses the mark when dealing with Chicago’s gang violence. The weapon used is generally a handgun and rarely is it purchased through legal channels. McCarthy wants to target straw purchasing, which is when legal gun buyers will purchase a weapon and then let it loose in the illegal market.Straw purchasing, of course, is already illegal.