WASHINGTON — Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, brings the panel to Chicago for a field hearing Monday on gun violence in the city.
The hearing, titled, “Combating Gun Trafficking and Reducing Violence in Chicago,” will be at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St., and comes as the Chicago area continues to grapple with shootings.
According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, as of Nov. 30, there were 1,009 homicides in Cook County, with 927 gun related. Most of the homicides were Black victims.
The last time Cook County homicides topped 1,000 was in 1994, with 1,141.
According to the Chicago Police Department, there were 754 homicides in the city through Dec. 4, the most recent data available.
“As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I felt it was important to bring this hearing to Chicago — a city that is all too familiar with the devastating cycle of gun violence and the trauma it leaves behind,” Durbin said in a statement.
This will be the first time the Judiciary Committee has a Chicago hearing with Durbin wielding the gavel as chairman.
“I’ve worked for years to try to stem the flow of illegal guns and to promote common-sense gun safety measures, and I’m glad we now have a White House that shares this commitment. This hearing also provides an opportunity for a broader conversation about public health approaches to prevent and reduce community violence. We will hear from federal agencies that are playing a key role in these efforts, and I am committed to doing all I can to help make our communities safer,” Durbin said.
AG GARLAND ON SPIKE IN SHOOTINGS: ‘THIS BOTHERS ME VERY MUCH’
In July, Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Chicago native raised in Lincolnwood, and Durbin were in Chicago to launch a new federal effort to combat gun violence across the country.
It was Garland’s first official visit back to Chicago as AG, and he called gun violence an ongoing tragedy: “I feel it particularly in my hometown,” he said. There were three mass shootings that day in Chicago.
At a Justice Department news conference Monday on another issue, Garland took questions and at the end was asked about crime in Chicago, with the question prompted by the Cook County medical examiner’s sad report of more than 1,000 victims in Cook County so far in 2021.
Garland was asked, “What’s the plan?”
He replied, “It is a terrible thing,” noting the rise in crime started last year and continued into this year.
“As you no doubt know, I visited my home city of Chicago and we established gun violence trafficking task force there and I met with the chief of police, I met with all the federal law enforcement and I met with this state and local law enforcement in length.”
Garland also noted that last May, “We announced an anti -Violent Crime Initiative, which focuses very much on establishing these kinds of Joint Task forces with state and local police agencies combined with all of our federal law enforcement so that all the tools available to the department are used to help our state and local partners.
“We also have reinvigorated the Safe Streets task forces, which have been in effect for quite some time, all of which is to say that this bothers me very much and the violent crime increase is one that we must address, that we are putting all of our resources toward.”
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