Seven additional agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives will be sent to Chicago to help combat the city’s violence.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced plans Thursday to send additional agents to the city following his recent visit, where he participated in a roundtable discussion with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The new ATF agents will coordinate efforts with U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon as well as federal, state and local law enforcement and community partnerships to reduce illegal gun trafficking and gun crime, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
The move is expected to boost the number of agents in Chicago to 52.
“The Department of Justice will continue to do everything in its power to help the city of Chicago combat gun violence,” Holder said in a statement. "These new agents are a sign of the federal government's ongoing commitment to helping local leaders ensure Chicago's streets are safe.”
Holder says gun crime is the “primary driver of homicide in Chicago” and notes that 60 percent of the guns recovered in violent crimes were originally sold in other states and trafficked into the city.
“ATF’s commitment to targeting traffickers and trigger pullers in Chicago is bolstered by these additional resources,” ATF Director B. Todd Jones said in a statement. “These resources, combined with ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center, will strengthen and build on our outstanding partnership with the Chicago Police Department and other local, state and regional law enforcement to bring safety and justice back to the community."
The announcement comes just two weeks after a particularly violence Fourth of July weekend left more than 60 people shot.