A weekend of violence in Chicago left nine dead and 37 others injured in shootings that tested the police's anti-violence strategy.
Supt. Garry McCarthy told NBC Chicago on Monday that tighter gun laws are needed, and though the department's tactics are taking root, some so-called retaliation shootings "are happening quicker than we have been able to get in front of them."
McCarthy said some of this weekend's shootings were in retaliation for violence that happened up to a year ago.
"It's hard to stay on it the entire time," McCarthy said. "This is where we need help. This is where we need to do something about the amount of guns that are in the city."
Chicago's summer violent streak started Memorial Day weekend when more than 40 people were shot. This weekend's total nearly matched that.
Among the deceased was 30-year-old Noah Cruise, who was shot in the chest Friday on South Wallace Street. A few hours later a 23-year-old was sitting in his car with his girlfriend on South Drexel when he tried to fight off two armed robbers. The man was shot multiple times and later died.
One of the latest shootings involved a 19-year-old boy who was shot in the head Sunday on Champlain Avenue.
"On the South and the West sides, we are locked in a battle with the gangs," McCarthy said. "That's what it boils down to. While this was going on, the rest of the city was functioning normally, and it's safe. We're on it. We're working on it. We're going to stay on it."
McCarthy said it's becoming easier to get guns, and people are becoming less scared of getting caught. A bigger problem, he said, is the ease with which guns can be passed off. For example, he said, the gun that shot Officer Del Pearson in March was purchased by a 52-year-old woman in 1972 who died in Little Rock, Ark., in 2006. "Where has it been since 1972?" he said.
"In my estimation, the single most important thing that we need in the state of Illinois is a requirement to report the loss, theft or transfer of a firearm. There's no requirement for that."