Chicago police officers have seized more than 10,000 guns this year, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
That’s about one gun every 47 minutes.
“There’s nothing more dangerous for a police officer than confronting a suspect armed with a gun,” Johnson said in a news conference Tuesday. “Tensions are high in these scenarios and the stakes are even higher.”
Last week, a Chicago officer was shot in the head while pursuing a bank robber, Johnson said.
“Psychological damage from being involved in a shooting like this is another factor,” Johnson said. “These wounds may be more difficult to see but they can be just as devastating.”
This year’s gun seizures already beat last year’s numbers, Johnson said, when the department recovered a total of 9,800 guns. Chicago police average 7,000 gun seizures per year, he said.
“The truth is Chicago has a gun problem,” he said. “Which goes hand-in-hand with the violent crime in the city.”
Last month, police said Chicago had seen a significant reduction in the number of both killings and shootings – with shootings declining 11%.
But the third-largest American city still faces challenges, Johnson said over the summer, when 52 people were shot -- including 10 fatally – over one weekend.
A part of the solution is in “common sense gun laws,” he said in Tuesday’s news conference.
“Strong laws aimed at reducing the prevalence of illegal guns need to come not just from the city and state lawmakers,” he said. “We also need elected officials in surrounding states to take a look at their laws and ask themselves if by making it easy to buy a gun in Indiana, Wisconsin or Mississippi, are they contributing to the violent crime in Chicago.”