Twenty federal gun investigation agents recently sent to Chicago are part of a 40-person strike force of Chicago police officers, federal agents and Illinois State Police that will be working on unsolved shootings and gun-related homicides and combating illegal gun trafficking, the Chicago Tribune reports. “It is a battle which can only be fought with all hands on deck, that is, state, federal and local law enforcement,” said Joel Levin, Chicago’s acting U.S. Attorney. It isn’t the first time task forces have been formed to combat gun violence in Chicago. Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents have worked with Chicago police officers in the district that borders northwest Indiana to try to counter the flow of illegal firearms from that state.
ATF data indicates that most of the guns originating from outside of Chicago that were recovered at local crime scenes in past years came from Indiana. Tim Jones, who heads the ATF task force, said, “We are a small agency, have a small footprint but we like to cast a bigger shadow through our attitude and effort, and we’re here to help, so we’re going to do what we can to work with our partners. Asked if 20 additional agents is enough, given the scope of Chicago’s illegal gun problem, Jones replied, “We could probably use 500 more agents.” In Washington, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked whether Chicago’s crime problem was related to gun access. “I think that the problem there is pretty clear that it’s a crime problem. I think crime is probably driven more by morality than anything else,” she said.