Chicago, IL - The Trump Administration is sending more ATF agents to Chicago permanently as part of a newly-formed strike force to help stop the out-of-control gun violence, according to USA Today.
The announcement was made on Friday, June 20, by President Trump's administration, and follows months of federal promises to intervene if the gun violence didn't stop. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on; we cannot accept these levels of violence."
According to statistics, more than 1,000 people have died over the past 18 months from Chicago's gun violence. In a tweet, just before AG Sessions' announcement, President Trump said:
"Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!"
The nation's third-largest city already has 41 ATF agents. The Justice Department and the city of Chicago also announced that a special strike force will be formed, consisting of federal and local law enforcement to significantly increase prosecution of gun offenders.
According to the Chicago Police Department, federal and Cook County prosecutors will work closely together with city police and federal agents to develop a strategy for targeting repeat gun offenders.
The idea for the strike force came from Chicago-based ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Celinez Nunez after he met with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. There have been 320 murders and 1360 'shooting incidents' as of June 29, 2017; there were 322 murders and 1584 'shooting incidents' at the same time in 2016.
The acting federal prosecutor for northern Illinois, Joel Levin, said that his office prosecuted "more gun-related crimes in 2016 than anytime in the past decade." He said that more gun-related crimes have been prosecuted already this year than in all of 2016.
Prior to Friday's announce, the ATF announced that they had sent a 'mobile high-tech ballistics lab,' known as 'the NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistics Information Network)', to Chicago. The lab 'allows analysts to test fire guns and analyze shell casings at the scene of a crime.'
It arrived in early June, and has already been used 96 times. NIBIN is scheduled to leave Chicago at the end of July, but officials are lobbying for it to stay.
The federal government said the problem is not access to guns, but that "crime is driven by morality," according to Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.