Dozens of Shootings in 1 Weekend: A Look at Chicago's Gun Problem

Seven people were slain in Chicago this weekend.

July 7, 2015, 12:50 PM

— -- Fireworks took on a second meaning in Chicago this 4th of July weekend.

Dozens of people were shot, including a 7-year-old boy who died while celebrating with his family. It was one of many incidents that police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the result of a broken system.

The city saw a total of 34 shooting incidents this past weekend, the Chicago Police Department told ABC News. There were 48 victims, including 7 murder victims, according to the police.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was "saddened and sickened" by the weekend's violence, he said at a news conference Monday on an unrelated topic.

But gun violence in Chicago is nothing new. Last year over the 4th of July weekend, the city had 41 shooting incidents, according to the police. There were 50 victims including 7 murder victims, the police said.

Here are two theories on what’s behind the violence:

1. Gun violators aren't getting punished.

Criminals are not feeling the repercussions of the justice system, McCarthy said.

Thousands of cases involving weapons violations were thrown out in Chicago's Cook County criminal courts between 2006 and 2013, according to the Chicago Reporter.

More felony cases involving guns were thrown out than any other kind of case, the Chicago Reporter said.

According to the Chicago Reporter, the chief of the state’s attorney’s office’s criminal prosecutions bureau said most of the dismissed cases "were based on a judge's decision to suppress evidence because a gun was intercepted in a way that violates the Fourth Amendment. Under that scenario, the prosecutor’s office would have no choice but to throw out the charge."

On Monday Emanuel reiterated his demands for gun law reform, calling on legislators and adults to fight for change.

“You have too many guns on the streets, too many people using those guns, and too little values," Emanuel said.

2. Big gang presence.

From 1991 to 2004, gangs were behind the biggest chunk of killings in Chicago, or one-third of them, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Gang violence was trailed by armed robberies, which made up less than one-tenth of the killings, the police department said.

Police say the father of the 7-year-old killed this weekend was a known gang member with a criminal record.

On Monday Emanuel scolded the criminals responsible for the weekend shootings for having no morals or conscience.

“You have gangbangers, without any sense of moral remorse or responsibility, shooting into a playground or shooting into a front yard, as if it’s a personal shooting gallery,” Emanuel said.

While Chicago gun violence may seem to be out of control, slayings are actually on the decline overall.

There were a total of 407 murders in the city last year, down from 419 murders in 2013, which fell even further from the total of 504 murders in 2012, according to statistics from the Chicago police.

This year, there have been 229 homicides in the city so far, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But Chicago's murder rate is still much higher than New York City’s. New York, with three times more people, had 333 murders in 2014 and 335 murders in 2013, according to city statistics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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