Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has tried a lot of different tactics to combat the rash of gun violence terrorizing the Windy City. A gun buyback program, a special summer police patrol and even getting over 5,000 guns off the streets.
But with 90 Chicagoans shot and killed in the month August alone, he’s forced to turn to politicians for help.
On Thursday, Johnson urged lawmakers to take action immediately to help him stop the war on innocent Chicagoans, saying what the city really needs is tougher sentencing laws that target felons routinely arrested with guns.
“If we need to go to Springfield, I’m on the first thing smoking going down there, because the longer we wait, the more people we’ll see being shot and killed on our streets,” Johnson told Chicago Times reporter John Kass during his podcast, The Chicago Way.
Listen to Johnson’s entire interview on The Chicago Way [HERE]
“Until repeat gun offenders recognize we’re serious about holding them accountable, we’re going to continue to see this gun violence,” Johnson said. “There’s a sense of urgency with me. And the sooner we can get this done, the better. I don’t know what we’re waiting for.”
Johnson said he’s backing a bill being worked on by two Democrats, state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago and state Rep. Michael J. Zalewski of Riverside. That bill would not only provide judges with new guidelines for sentencing felons convicted of unlawful use of weapons charges, but it sets a minimum sentence of seven years for repeat offenders. Additionally, if any judge imposes a lesser sentence than the guideline suggests, he or she would have to explain why they made that decision in writing.
Chicago’s top cop seems to be the only on in charge who views the city’s 496 homicides thus far in 2016, which has already surpassed the total number of homicides in 2015, as unacceptable.
“Any amount of gun violence in the city is unacceptable and we can do something about it,” Johnson said. “That’s why I’m spearheading this along with Raoul and Zalewski, to get this passed, because I’ll need the people of Chicago to help me with that.
“But I’ve gotta be honest,” Johnson concluded. “If you are a leader in Chicago, in Illinois — if you think watching these people get shot and killed is OK, then you shouldn’t be a leader, because it’s not OK.”