CHICAGO — A new police task force will target gun traffickers in a bid to prevent gun violence in Chicago.
The Gun Investigations Team was created this week. Officers will investigate people who are selling guns illegally and “straw” buyers who bring the weapons to Chicago, according to a police news release. They’ll also trace all guns that are taken in by police and investigate when people have their Firearm Owners Identification card revoked.
Those moves are expected to help officers “intercept and recover guns that would otherwise end up in the hands of violent criminal offenders,” according to police.
The task force has Chicago police officers, as well as officers from the Firearms Investigation Team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to a police news release.
The agents will work with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to get charges against people who traffic guns, according to police.
Chicago has long been plagued by gun violence — and officials and experts have said at least part of that is due to the large number of guns that come from outside the city. People buy guns in states with laxer laws, like Indiana, and then bring them to the city.
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city is creating a $1 million reward fund for people who provide information about illegal guns.
Chicago residents and gun-violence prevention advocates have said community groups and neighborhoods need long-term investment — financially and through other resources — to drive down shootings and end the things that lead to crime, like poverty.
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