5 Ways Police Find and Arrest Gun Owners in Chicago
Chicago police say they are feeling pressure to keep illegal guns off the streets, and they have been coming up with new ways to detect and seize guns from citizens.
People who carry guns in Chicago should be aware of these practices and make sure to have the required permits before carrying firearms on the streets.
ShotSpotter is a system used by officers to locate the source of a gunshot within 10 feet. Police officers have set up microphones in areas of the city that are statistically prone to gun violence.
When a gun is fired, the microphone picks up the shot and immediately sends a signal to officers, who typically respond within 30 seconds. Many of the microphones are set up in buildings and on rooftops, but the police will not release their exact locations.
According to local officers, several arrests come from reports from fellow citizens. Neighbors who are uncomfortable with guns or those who see what they believe to be illegal activity call the police to report what they observe around the neighborhood.
These tips are used by police as justification to ride through neighborhoods and approach individuals they believe look suspicious, and if the tips are specific enough and involve serious crime, they can even be used to obtain a warrant to search a home.
“Stop and Frisk”
Stop and Frisk practices have had a controversial history in Chicago. The term “stop and frisk” originated from a U.S. Supreme Court case, Terry v. Ohio, 3952 U.S. 1 (1968).
In the case, the court held that police officers may stop individuals and perform a frisk to check for weapons if the police have “reasonable suspicion” that the individual might be armed and dangerous.
Historically, many police used this as a free pass to stop people arbitrarily and search for weapons. Because of overuse, new laws were put into place that require police to fill out a two-page report every time they conduct a warrantless frisk.
This law helped reduce the amount of frisks conducted, but it did not outlaw these types of searches. If police have good reason to suspect an individual has a gun, they can stop them and pat them down even without a warrant.
Partnership with the ATF
In early 2017, twenty agents from the Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) agency joined forces with the Chicago police. The goal of the partnership is to seize illegal firearms and prevent the entry of guns into the state.
The ATF agents have access to registries for guns as well as a National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network, which means the agents are able to easily match shell casings to guns.
This can lead to arrests, and it can also link several crimes to the same person or group of people.
For example, if the ATF agent can match a shell casing to a particular gun, and the same shell casings were found in two other places in the city, the agent may use that evidence to try to convince officials that the same person or people were involved in the crimes that occurred where other shell casings were found.
The ATF also tracks shipments of guns from neighboring states, and tries to find the ways illegal guns are smuggled into Chicago. If the agents discover a link between the traffickers and Chicago residents, serious weapon trafficking charges can be added to existing sentences.
Exceptions to Warrant Requirements
Police are supposed to have a warrant before searching a citizen’s home or vehicle.
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Despite these rules, police have many ways of searching people, their homes, and their cars without a warrant.
If police pull someone over and that stop leads to an arrest, police are allowed to search that individual’s vehicle, including areas that may be closed such as glove compartments and consoles.
If police arrest an individual for any reason, they can search his or her clothing, bag, wallet, or purse. Even if someone is arrested for a crime unrelated to firearms, like an unpaid warrant, they can still be busted by the police if they are carrying an illegal firearm.
In addition, if the police are called to a home for a complaint, such as a report of domestic violence or a medical emergency, they will most likely enter the home.
If guns are visible to the officers (like if they are laying on the coffee table), the police can seize them if it is obvious the guns are illegal or if the homeowner is not allowed to have a gun due to a prior conviction or other reason.
Police have many ways to take guns from their owners. Police in Chicago are especially interested in catching and punishing those with illegal guns.
Those who wish to carry a gun in Chicago should make sure to be up to date with all licensing and permit requirements, and avoid taking firearms into places where they are not allowed.
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