Durbin To Investigate Chicago’s Skyrocketing Violence

by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

December 14, 2021

CHICAGO — On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a special hearing in Chicago to look into the city’s rising gun violence and what might be done to reduce it.

“Gun violence is a countrywide problem.  Today, we’re concentrating on Chicago and Illinois.” said Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Durbin, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated that the hearing was convened in Chicago for obvious reasons.  More than 4,000 people have been shot in the city so far this year, with 756 killings, a 4% increase over 2020.

Among the experts invited to testify were US Attorney John Lausch and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, who voiced concern over the influx of thousands of illegally obtained firearms into the city.

Brown emphasized that the pistol used to shoot CPD officer Ella French earlier this year was straw bought in Indiana with few repercussions.

“The idea that this guy went in and out of federal court as a straw purchaser of a gun that resulted in the killing of a police officer should enrage us all,” Brown said.

Durbin also stated that he had backed legislation to enhance federal regulations for straw gun buyers.

The underlying explanation for the rise in gun violence, according to crime expert Amy Swearer of the conservative Heritage Foundation, is inadequate prosecution.

“Progressive prosecutors in Chicago and many other places around the country, especially in otherwise harsh on crime states,” Swearer added.

Senator Durbin recognized that any form of gun regulation is unlikely to pass in the foreseeable future in Congress. Durbin, on the other hand, said he wants to try, if only to get lawmakers from both parties on the record.

Durbin claimed in October that he had a close call with a car firing gunshots into the air.  According to Durbin “I heard a popping sound.  I didn’t know what it was, but the driver of the car said, ‘Those were gunshots.’ And it turned out to be the car next to us, and the driver was leaning out the window and shooting a gun in the air. He could have just as easily been shooting a gun at us.”