The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is permanently relocating more agents to gun-controlled Chicago in the wake of the city’s nearly 800 homicides in 2016 and the upward trend in violence during January 2017.
The new agents will be part of the “Chicago Crime Guns Strike Force.”
According to CNN, “ATF headquarters in Washington sent out a bulletin to field offices around the country Wednesday looking for agents to volunteer for permanent transfer to the Chicago area.” An unidentified official said “it’s unusual to ask for permanent relocation in reaction to a specific problem.” Normal practice is for the agency to request a surge of agents “for 30 to 60 days.”
January 2017 saw a surge in shootings and violence that easily surpassed the violence witnessed in January 2016. According to the Chicago Tribune, “At least 228 people were shot in Chicago [January 1 through January 22, 2017].” That was an increase of 16 victims above the number shot during the same period in 2016. And there were “at least 42 homicides,” marking a “23.5 percent … [increase from] the 34 homicides from the same period in 2016.”
President Trump reacted to this surge in violence by tweeting:
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
CNN spoke to two ATF officials about the additional federal agents heading to Chicago. One said the new surge “is not in response” to Trump’s tweet and the second official “could not say for sure that Trump’s comment had nothing to do with decision.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.