CHICAGO
02/05/2013 03:06 pm ET Updated Feb 05, 2013

Chicago Police Gun Seizures: CPD Sweeps 680 Weapons From The Street In The New Year

Updated story

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has a target in his sights: tougher penalties for the city's gun scofflaws.

At a Monday press conference, McCarthy displayed some of the nearly 700 guns his officers have seized since 2013 began last month, reports WGN.

In all, police have swept 680 illegal guns off the street, many of them military-style weapons like a Tec-9 with a modified 50 bullet-capacity magazine.

According to NBC Chicago, the city's top cop believes the massive number of seized guns is a clear indicator Chicago needs to crack down harder on those who break the city's firearm rules.

"Everybody says Chicago has tough gun laws," McCarthy said. "Patently false."

During a Jan. 29 press conference following McCarthy's gun violence meeting at the White House, the superintendent noted Chicago seizes far more guns than NYC. Though New York has three times the population of Chicago, McCarthy cited New York's harsher gun violation penalties as the reason for the disparity.

"... When people get caught with (illegal) guns in New York, they go to jail," McCarthy said "… As a result they're not carrying guns with impunity."

At Monday's event, McCarthy said, "The frequency of firearm seizures in Chicago is a critical issue which we must keep at the forefront to demonstrate why strong gun legislation is needed," according to DNAinfo Chicago.

The New York Times recently compiled Chicago police data which showed more than half of the guns recovered in Chicago between 2001 and March 2012 were from out of state; a striking amount, Chicago magazine notes, come from the South.

Gun shops located just outside of the city also account for a sizable chunk of the gun seizures. According to a Tribune report last year, just two suburban gun shops -- in Lyons and Riverdale -- accounted for more than 10 percent of the firearms recovered from the streets.

Currently, a six-month maximum sentence is the toughest penalty the city can impose on individuals caught with stolen firearms.

In other local gun policy-related news, the Cook County Board on Thursday approved fines up to $2,000 for any suburban Cook County residents who fail to report the loss, sale or theft of a firearm. The new fines, which go into effect in early August, do not apply within Chicago's city limits.

According to RedEye's homicide tracker, the city has racked up 48 homicides as of Feb. 3, only eight of which were not classified as shooting deaths.

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