Politics

Durbin, Kirk believe U.S. Attorney nominee Fardon should focus on gang violence

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk discussed gun and gang violence in Chicago with Zachary Fardon, the nominee to be the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Fardon was nominated by President Obama to fill the vacant seat left by Patrick Fitzgerald. Although the job isn't his yet, he is already hearing expectations about the role the U.S. Attorney can play in reducing violence.

Fardon, who is facing Senate approval, did not comment publicly. However, after the meeting, the senators shared what they hope will be the focus of the next U.S. Attorney.

"To coordinate efforts to stop the violent crime and murder in the Chicago area. We are appalled at the reporting of horrific crimes that are taking place in this area," said Durbin.

Kirk says recent tragedies- like the death of teen Hadiyah Pendleton- motivate him to go after gangs that bring illegal guns into the city.

Part of the discussion included looking at possible federal laws like the Rico Act, which targets organized crime.

"I think it's completely within the capability of the U.S. government to crush a major urban gang," said Kirk.

While Fitzgerald's notable cases involve the convictions of former governors, the senators maintain the next U.S. Attorney still needs to go after corruption. They say the public's trust will help make the streets safer.

"We have got to do everything in our power to stop this trafficking and straw purchasing of firearms coming into Chicago, wreaking all this havoc on our communities," said Durbin.

Meanwhile, Pendleton's parents say they will be watching to see what action comes out of the discussions.

As for the result of such federal legal action, the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago is looking at the impact of holding gang leadership accountable. The Crime Lab officials gang gun distribution is only one way that weapons get on the streets, and there are other avenues where a young person may get hold of a firearm.

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