Sen. Mark Kirk lists Oak Park in letter about gangs, violence

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

In a letter from the office of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, Oak Park was named as one of many communities where illegal gun trafficking is "allowing gangs and violence to flourish around Illinois."

Chicago, Waukegan, Metro East, the Quad Cities, Champaign, Peoria, Cicero and Rockford were among the other cities mentioned, though Kirk said they are just part of "hundreds of communities in between" affected by the issue. He sent the letter to gain support for the bill, the Gillibrand-Kirk Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013, which is co-sponsored by Kirk and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York.

"With approximately 115,000 gang members in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, Chicago has the highest concentration of gang members in the nation terrorizing our families," Kirk wrote. Gang violence contributed to 500 deaths in Chicago alone last year.

"We must put a stop to this cycle of violence," the letter said.

Citing the Chicago Crime Commission, Kirk wrote that Chicago police recover an average of 13,000 illegal weapons each year.

The bill, he said, will make gun trafficking a federal crime. It would empower local, state, and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers and their entire criminal networks, including gangs, cartels and organized crime rings, according to his website.

Currently, no federal law exists that defines gun trafficking as a crime, he said. According to Kirk: "The bill will protect the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners while giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep our families safe."

Contact:
Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

19 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Rocco from Chicago  

Posted: May 4th, 2014 12:18 PM

Oak Park in a disaster thanks to the Chicago cops pushing the Austin neighborhood gangs further west. Oak Park has better targets and easier prey. Thanks Oak Park for making a home for the Chicago gangs. LOL!

Drue Ferguson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 17th, 2013 5:09 PM

How is this so... when there is no news report or police about gun traffic thru OP?

?  

Posted: February 15th, 2013 7:28 PM

Unwise for Senator Kirk to stigmatize any community but....we can't say there is NO gang activity in OP. Remember when a chopped up body, put in a hefty bag was left in an alley years back? Did gangs drive out to the suburbs to deposit that for some reason? All urban areas are impacted by gangs, suburban areas, too. Does he really think his district is going to be exempt?! More important matter...when the OP Police Dept. gets guns confiscated OP melts them down, not sell them to gun shops!

Mr. Borderman from Oak Park   

Posted: February 9th, 2013 7:00 AM

Marky Mark is just peeved because Oak Park didn't vote for him, hence his attempt to tar us with his thinly veiled racism.

OP Rez  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 10:50 PM

Considering the areas we live next to. We do have to be vigilant to not let a gang culture develop out of some youths in the schools tough. We need to take crimes like tagging gang signs seriously so we don't let the small things turn into big problems.

OP Rez  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 10:42 PM

Gangs sending under age kids into the village to steal, so if they get caught, they just get released to parents. A bit of dealing around the McDonalds on Madison, but they mostly don't need to come in to deal as plenty of Suburban kids will go into Austin to score. I would not say we have a gang problem, so much as we live next to areas with gang problems and have a little spill over property crime with the occasional robbery. I'm actually surprises the crime is not significantly higher cont...

OP Rez  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 10:26 PM

Yeah, but what does "illegal trafficking" actually mean in this case? Some guys driving from Austin to Maywood up Madison st. with some handguns in the trunk? That wouldn't be surprising. I'm sure the some people that are or we're gang bangers in OP, or know someone that is. But this can be said for any inner ring suburb, including Evanston. Thing is, there are no "gang turfs" in OP, partly due to the cost to live here, and the proactive ness of OPPD. The extent of OPs gang problem is cont.

June from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 3:56 PM

I agree w/Jim that the Village or OPPD must issue a response; to remain silent on this issue is giving it credibility

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 4th, 2013 3:28 PM

OPPD or Village Hall still needs to issue a response to Senator Kirk's claim about illegal gun trafficking in our community. It's hard to believe this is an ongoing problem. There certainly has to be information to dispute or verify this serious charge.

FYI from Oak Park  

Posted: February 4th, 2013 2:10 PM

Oak Park police department does not sell guns!

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 3rd, 2013 8:29 AM

@ John all I know is we were never told how that gun got from evidence to the bad guy. Every member of the jury wanted to know. When police sell guns to private dealers do they require more stringent record keeping?

John from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2013 4:41 PM

Ray, Perhaps its leakage, but don't allude to something without proof. here is another idea... The police department sells guns to gun shops that it does not need. some years ago it was found that one gun Shop, Chuck's gun shop, had sold well over 2,000 guns that were later recovered in crimes.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2013 1:01 PM

I was on a jury several years ago that was a weapons felony case. The gun was in the possession of a guy on parole and we sent him back for some more time. The interesting thing was that the 44 magnum revolver had been in the police evidence locker 3 years prior to this guy getting caught. Could this be a leakage? Now there is a loophole if I ever saw one.

Bob Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 2nd, 2013 10:25 AM

So what's worse, that Mark Kirk doesn't know geography or that our neighbors across Austin Blvd are being killed because of poverty reinforced by institutional racism?

OPRF Achievment Gap  

Posted: February 1st, 2013 9:31 PM

This...shows that all other hearings in Congress about tighter legal gun control, etc is just LIP service. Show boating is the word. Not really doing anything. Look, I would say a safe wager is that most ALL of the killings in Chicago this year and last were done with black market guns. The black market for guns has existed for well over 200 years. Drugs, family values lacking and bad economy have just recently shown a light on this illegal trade. Well done Sen Kirk!

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 1st, 2013 5:54 PM

Stunning to read that gun trafficking in not a federal crime. Good work by both senators. Let's hope there is no opposition or attempt to delay passage of the bill so President Obama can quickly sign it into law. I would certainly be interested in learning more about Mark Kirk's source for citing Oak Park. What does Police Chief Tanksley have to say about the situation? This has not been previously reported and raises questions about how our local officials are dealing with this serious problem.

Clayton  

Posted: February 1st, 2013 5:21 PM

He's been a dissapointment to you because he's not a democrat. Why don't you look internally at the utter failure that is the Illinois Democratic Party or is that ok because they're democrats?

Parky  

Posted: February 1st, 2013 4:50 PM

Berwyn should have been listed, not Oak Park. Unless there is something to gain by being mentioned, this is an unfortunate listing. Kirk has been a dissapointment so far. When he first was elected, he cozied up to the Tea Baggers, even though he had promised to be a moderate.

The Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: February 1st, 2013 4:05 PM

Seriously? Oak Park was named, and, yet, South Elgin, Elgin, Aurora, North Aurora, Joliet and East Dundee were not named? Joke.

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