By Michael Pearson
(CNN) — Chicago’s police superintendent lashed out at what he called lax state and federal gun laws after a violent Fourth of July weekend that saw 11 deaths in dozens of shooting incidents in a city already known for frequent shootings.
“There’s a greater sanction for the gang members to lose that firearm from their gang than there is to go to jail” for illegal gun possession, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said after reciting the criminal histories of several of the suspects in this weekend’s violence.
Among the suspects: a man wanted in connection with a murder who has 21 prior arrests.
The incidents include eight times in which police fired guns at suspects or were fired on, McCarthy told reporters. In two of those incidents, police shot and killed the suspects, both of whom were 16.
McCarthy said the violence unraveled a string of successes by police in suppressing gun violence this year. The city saw 24 shooting incidents on Sunday alone, he said, although three of them may have been self-inflicted.
In 2013, 12 people died and 75 were injured during the four-day Independence Day holiday, according to CNN affiliate WLS.
The holiday shootings follow a week in which Chicago had 52 shooting incidents, according to Police Department statistics. This year, as of June 29, Chicago police had recorded 880 shooting incidents, an average of nearly five a day.
McCarthy said police will continue a summer program to flood high-violence areas with police, but he said that without stronger gun laws, police will continue to face an uphill battle.
“There’s too many guns coming in and too little punishment going out,” he said.
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