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Gun shows target of bi-state effort to reduce violence

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Updated: March 16, 2013 6:20AM



GARY — One of the first issues a new cross-state alliance focusing on gun trafficking will tackle is gun shows.

Officials from Indiana and Illinois met Thursday at the Genesis Convention Center to begin a dialogue about the flow of guns between the two states, saying the meeting was long overdue.

On Thursday, 80 representatives from 12 agencies in Lake and Porter counties in Indiana and from Cook County, Ill., huddled at the Genesis Convention Center to talk about ways to stop illegal guns from crossing borders.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said the impetus behind the gathering was a report on gun trafficking from the University of Chicago that concluded most of the guns used in crimes in Chicago were purchased there, but the second highest number of guns came from Indiana, specifically, Lake County.

“We can do some things immediately,” said Dart. “I’d be lying to you to say we’ve come up with a 10-point plan but there were some things we can move on immediately. The heart of it is going after guns, and guns getting in the wrong hands.”

Homicides and gun violence have escalated in Chicago, as officials there struggle to develop strategies to defeat gangs from taking over the streets.

President Barack Obama will address gun violence and his proposed new gun policies Friday in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said more scrutiny will be placed upon sponsors of gun shows, like the ones frequently held at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point. Buncich said officials will review the show sponsors to make sure they follow legal guidelines. The rental use of fairgrounds property is handled by the Lake County Board of Commissioners, he said.

“We’ve had a very fruitful discussion today, a lot of questions were answered,” Buncich said. “There’s too much violence in our communities today.”

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the officials laid the groundwork Thursday for solutions. “This is the first time we’ve sat down in a comprehensive way to develop policies that can be duplicated across the border.”

U.S. Northern District Attorney David Capp said criminals don’t recognize state borders. He cited recent indictments against the Latin Kings and Imperial Gangsters that led to the solving of 30 homicides.



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