CHICAGO—The city is tapping into Chicago's online community as it seeks innovative solutions to the problem of illegal guns on the streets.
Chicago Ideas Week launched a Twitter handle @whatifchicago seeking to "crowdsource" strategies to tackle the illegal gun issue. 300,000 people joined the conversation online.
At an event this morning in the River North neighborhood, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy had some ideas of his own.
But first McCarthy wished to address the tone of the debate in Chicago and nationwide. He said the gun debate is too polarizing and must move more toward the center.
McCarthy said seizing illegal guns in the city is not a problem and pointed out that the Chicago Police Department seized nine illegal guns for every one gun seized by the New York Police Department in the first six months of this year.
But McCarthy says getting guns off the streets is like putting your mouth on a fire hose. The problem is keeping them from getting there in the first place.
He says legislation could help. In Illinois there is no requirement to report the loss, theft or transfer of a firearm.
McCarthy says it is not a gun control problem, it is an accountability problem. "You give it to whoever you want, you sell it to whoever you want, and then two years later when we recover the gun at the scene of a murder we go back to you and you say that gun was lost two years ago," he told the audience.
"That simple measure would change the dynamic of firearms," McCzarthy added. "But it's still going to take a long time because those guns don't have expiration dates.
Chicago Ideas Week runs through October 16 with more than 80 sessions citywide.