By a Biometrica staffer
In the course of the Labor Day weekend, five people were killed and dozens wounded in a spate of gun violence, CBS Chicago reported. This takes the total number of shootings in Chicago to more than 2,300 in 2021.
This weekend’s shootings also mark the latest holiday weekend to experience a spike in gun violence.
On Saturday, June 19, celebrations were underway across the country to commemorate Juneteenth, the date that marks the unofficial end of slavery. Many of these celebrations were marred by shootings.
On the Fourth of July weekend, at least 150 people were killed in the course of 400 shootings.
The latest Chicago shootings have been linked to straw purchases — the act of buying a firearm for someone who is prohibited by law from owning one, or who does not want his or her name associated with a firearm purchase. This a federal crime.
Authorities are attempting to crack down on straw purchases after a May 2021 incident in which three officers stationed at Fort Campbell were arrested for allegedly purchasing guns and illegally selling them to convicted felons in Chicago, according to the Justice Department.
This incident was uncovered in the course of an investigation into a mass shooting in which five guns were found to be purchased in Tennessee.
“This is not a victimless crime. Guns end up in the hands of the wrong people,” John Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, told CBS News.
In July, the Justice Department launched strike forces in five cities, including Chicago, to tackle straw purchases.
“Our straw purchasers are savvy and their intent is to deceive a firearms dealer,” said Kristen de Tineo, special agent in charge of Chicago’s ATF office. “It is a major cornerstone of our trafficking strategy to identify those straw purchases. Our offenders are completely emboldened. They’re not afraid of getting caught. They’re not afraid of the consequences once they get caught.”
A particularly tragic incident over the Labor Day weekend resulted in the killing of a four-year-old who was randomly shot in the head in Chicago, NBC News reported. Mychal Moultry Jr. was getting his hair styled in the front part of a home when two bullets flew in through a window struck the child in the head.
He was one of eight children shot in Chicago alone in the course of the Labor Day weekend. “We definitely need the help from the public to further this investigation,” said Rahman Muhammad, deputy chief of the Chicago police detective division.
According to Police Superintendent David O Brown, multiple children were victims over the weekend but they were not the intended targets of the shootings. “There are few if any circumstances where our young people are directly being targeted,” Brown said while asking people to come forward with any information about these incidents.
In Florida, a man wearing full body armor fatally shot four people including a mother and the three-month-old infant she was cradling, the Associated Press reported on Monday, Sept. 6. After a massive gunfight with police and deputies, the gunman was injured and finally arrested.
The gunman was identified as Bryan Riley, a former marine who served as a sharpshooter in Iraq and Afghanistan. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told a press conference that Riley appeared to be suffering mental health issues. Judd said that Riley’s girlfriend told authorities that he had recently claimed that he could communicate directly with god.
In order to better tackle the issue of gun violence, President Joe Biden announced on April 8 that authorities were cracking down on ghost guns.
Ghost guns are self-assembled firearms with parts that do not include serial numbers. As they’re handmade, they do not require background checks and the acquisition of a ghost gun skirts federal gun laws.
When you buy a gun from a licensed dealer, that gun, or more specifically, its receiver, is made by a licensed manufacturer, and is marked. It has a serial number that can be traced, which is invaluable for tracking crimes.