Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors are launching a new initiative Friday to stem the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions".
Chicago city officials said Friday that 20 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were arriving to help the city reduce crime after years of rising murder rates.
The team will pay special attention to rounding up repeat offenders.
Trump's latest tweet said there have been 1,714 shootings in Chicago this year.
"We want to get to the people who are putting some of these guns on the street illegally", Chicago Police Chief Anthony Riccio said. The number of murders - 320 so far in 2017, compared with 322 at this point past year - has hardly changed. The Justice Department had previously said that more than 20 additional ATF agents were sent to Chicago, and a spokesman said the department was also considering reallocating prosecutors to the city.
A law enforcement official told CNN Friday that the eight Federal Bureau of Investigation employees have left the city.
Gun crime raged in gun-controlled Chicago to such a degree that on April 25, 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Windy City passed "1,000 gunshot victims for the year".
A mass shooting is defined as an incident involving four or more people.
There have been 1373 shootings this year as of Friday morning, a 12.9 percent drop from the same period in 2016.
"The goal is [to] prosecute as many of these guys as possible federally where they will serve longer prison terms", the head of the Chicago PD's organized-crime unit tells the Sun-Times.
A spokesperson for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not impressed with the task force, telling the New York Times, "If the president was as interested in taking action on public safety as he is in tweeting about it, we would have seen these resources months ago".
Sessions added that Chicago should stop being a sanctuary city and needed to deport violent criminals who have convictions. And he noted that dozens of additional ATF agents had "surged" into Chicago so far this year.