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Chicago Supt. McCarty says ‘No magic formula,' but wants more gun laws

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says there is no "magic formula" to stop murders in the city.
John Gress/Getty Images

Following a bloody Easter weekend in Chicago, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy seemed self-contradictory yesterday when he told the CBS affiliate there is “no magic formula” for reducing the violence, but told the NBC affiliate that “We need help with the gun laws.”

Gun rights advocates might be justified in asking the Windy City’s top cop, “Which is it?” Published reports put the body count at eight or nine dead – including a murder-suicide involving a man and wife who were both law enforcement veterans – and “at least 44 others” wounded.

The Chicago Tribune reported this morning that one man has been arrested in two of the slayings and now faces charges of first-degree murder. Anthony Bankhead, 18, and Jordan Means, 16, were gunned down on the city’s South Side Saturday. The newspaper detailed several of the slayings.

“There’s no magic formula here,” McCarthy said during his interview with CBS2. “We have a plan, we have a strategy, and it’s hard work. That’s what it is. … It’s a day-by-day, minute-by-minute grind, and we’re into busy season. That’s what it is.”

Speaking to WMAQ, the NBC affiliate, McCarthy stated, “We need help with the gun laws. Because, you know, the national average for gun violence, we’re way above it, as far as murder by gunshot goes. So until such time as we stem the flow of those guns coming into the city and people start going to jail for it, we can make progress, which we’ve made, but we not going to fix this problem without some help from Springfield.”

McCarthy was talking about the Illinois capitol, not the famous arms company. However, lawmakers in Springfield may not be so eager to enter another gun law fray after having consistently lost in federal court to both the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.

Coincidentally, the NRA is holding its 143rd annual convention in neighboring Indiana this weekend, and SAF will hold its 24th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago in September. Since the Prairie State legislature was forced by the courts to create a concealed carry law last year, there is a new gun rights activism in Illinois.

An editorial in today’s Chicago Tribune observed, “As Sunday closed and later, as Monday lengthened, we heard Chicago scramble for scapegoats, and for solutions. About lawmakers who won't pass the right bills. About judges who put people arrested for gun crimes back on the street. About this city's endless search for ways to disrupt trafficking in firearms.

“But we didn't hear enough talk that picked up where the mayor left off. We didn't hear enough, that is, about instilling radically different values in the marauders who now rule too many of Chicago's streets — with ‘too many’ defined as ‘at least one’.”

Perhaps it didn’t help that the city banned handguns for a whole generation, during which street thugs and gang criminals got used to trafficking in illegal guns and lost all fear of honest citizens who couldn’t legally have guns for personal and home defense inside city limits. That kind of problem – created through years of failed public policy – cannot be solved or reversed overnight.

It may be that the only help McCarthy needs with gun laws is in enforcing the ones on the books, and getting used to the idea of legally-armed citizens.

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