CHICAGO – Shootings in Chicago during the Fourth of July holiday weekend have left at least nine people dead and several dozen wounded, including two young boys shot in different parks.
Gov. Pat Quinn said Sunday that such continued violence underscores why he dramatically altered a gun bill that will end Illinois' last-in-the nation ban on carrying concealed firearms – a prohibition that's been declared unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
"That ought to be an alarm bell to all of us that we need strong laws that protect the public safety, especially when it comes to guns," the Chicago Democrat told reporters after speaking at a church on the city's West Side. "It's time to end the violence."
One of the shootings on Saturday night proved especially violent, killing a man in his late 40s and wounding six others. A 25-year-old man was shot and killed earlier Saturday outside his home.
Among the wounded are a 7-year-old boy who was shot Thursday night and Jaden Donald, 5, who authorities and relatives said has undergone multiple surgeries since being shot in the abdomen early Friday morning in a park. Police said two men — ages 34 and 28 – also were wounded in that Friday shooting.
Prosecutors in Donald's case have charged Darrell Chambers with three counts each of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery.
During a hearing Sunday, Chambers was denied bond by Cook County Associate Judge Adam Bourgeios, who told the man "there are no conditions I can set to keep the community safe," a local newspaper reported.
Authorities also said a 17-year-old man was shot and killed by Chicago police Thursday after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers.
Despite the number of shootings over the holiday weekend, there have been a fewer number of homicides in Chicago in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year. Overall, there were 500 shootings in 2012.
The number of homicides typically goes up in the summer and anti-violence advocates pay more attention to it. The Rev. Al Sharpton has said he plans to live in Chicago for a few months to work with neighborhood leaders on the problem.
Quinn, who has advocated for a statewide assault weapons ban, spent much of the holiday weekend discussing the violence. He drastically altered a concealed carry bill that lawmakers sent to him, calling it a matter of public safety.
Illinois lawmakers face a Tuesday deadline to come up with a concealed carry law and are expected to override Quinn's changes, which call for a one-gun limit on the number of weapons a person can carry and a ban on guns at establishments with liquor licenses, among other things.
Quinn and anti-violence advocates have highlighted city violence in the debate on gun control. But outside the Chicago area, discussion statewide has largely focused on gun owners' rights. Lawmakers say their original bill was a compromise that came out of months of debate.