WASHINGTON – Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday crime in Chicago was ‘driven more by morality” than access to guns, commenting after the Trump administration sent 20 more U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents to the city to combat gun violence.
The extra agents were heralded by President Donald Trump in a Friday Twitter post.
“Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!”
According to the Sun-Times’ count, even more people, 1,737, have been shot this year, 306 of them killed. This comes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been asking Trump to send in more federal help for six months.
Gun trafficking is a leading contributing factor in Chicago shootings. The Trump Justice Department created the Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force to hunt down and prosecute firearms traffickers.
Sanders at the White House briefing deflected a question about the link between guns and crime in Chicago even as more ATF agents were assigned to Chicago.
Asked if Chicago’s problems were due in part to access to firearms Sanders replied, “I think that the problem there is pretty clear that it’s a crime problem. I think that crime is probably driven more by morality than anything else.”
Trump highlighted Chicago’s problems with shootings during his presidential campaign, transition and has continued to do so since he took office on Jan. 20, saying in Twitter posts and speeches he will “send in the feds” to help stop the “carnage” in Chicago.

You could save $782

Shopping for insurance? With Liberty Mutual, you could save $782 on car and home insurance. Get a...
See More
Emanuel discussed federal assistance with Trump when the mayor met with him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Dec. 7. Emanuel has made several White House visits since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
Help finally came in June, some six months after Trump said he would “send in the feds.” Chicago Sun-Times crime reporter Frank Main broke the news on Thursday that ATF agents are working with counterparts from the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police on a to solve shootings and hunt down gun traffickers.
Emanuel spokesman Collins said Friday morning, “Six months ago, we made it clear that we would welcome additional federal support, and six months later we appreciate the 20 new ATF agents that are now arriving.
“But the progress CPD has made this year has happened without any of the new resources from the federal government we requested.”
Hours after Trump’s Twitter post on sending help to reduce crime in Chicago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement:
“The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on; we cannot accept these levels of violence.
“That’s why, under President Trump’s strong leadership, we have created the Chicago Gun Strike Force and are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago, reallocating federal prosecutors and prioritizing prosecutions to reduce gun violence, and working with our law enforcement partners to stop the lawlessness.”
Meanwhile, at Chicago Police HQ:
In Chicago, the 20 additional ATF agents and the rest of the strike force were officially unveiled at a press conference at the Chicago Police Department headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave.
The Strike Force became “operational” June 1 and consists of: 20 additional permanent ATF special agents; six intelligence research specialists; 12 task force officers from the Chicago Police Department; two officers from the Illinois State Police: and four specialists from the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
Tim Jones, the ATF strike force’s commander, said, “Chicago is the first place where this will be a permanent fixture.”
But is 20 going to be enough ATF agents?
“Me personally, we could probably use 500 more agents,” Jones said, with a chuckle. “We just don’t have that with ATF.”
The full Sessions statement:
“No child in America should have to walk the streets of their neighborhood in fear of violent criminals, and yet in Chicago, thousands of children do every day. Last year, more than 4,300 Chicagoans were shot, and more than 700 were killed—the deadliest year in two decades.
“The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on; we cannot accept these levels of violence. That’s why, under President Trump’s strong leadership, we have created the Chicago Gun Strike Force and are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago, reallocating federal prosecutors and prioritizing prosecutions to reduce gun violence, and working with our law enforcement partners to stop the lawlessness.
“The Trump administration will also continue to pursue every avenue available to ensure that states and cities comply with federal immigration law and protect our citizens—rather protecting the criminal illegal aliens who prey upon them. So-called “sanctuary” policies tie the hands of law enforcement by rejecting common sense and undermining federal laws that would remove criminal, illegal aliens from the streets and remove them from this country. These policies are opposed by some 80 percent of the American people because they endanger us all by letting dangerous criminals stay in this country that are due to be removed.
“I want to commend the President for his commitment to enforcing our laws and keeping our communities safe.
“The most critical factor to our success is the strength, training, and morale of the Chicago Police Department and all of our law enforcement partners. This administration is anxious to work toward this goal.
“And I am confident in Celinez Nunez, the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of ATF, who has experienced the tragic consequences of gang violence firsthand. With these new resources, she will help us make Chicago safe again.Trending Articles