Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown spoke at length last year about his department’s efforts to take illegal guns off the street. He said officers recovered more than 12,000 illegal firearms throughout 2021, saying, “each gun recovered by a Chicago police officer is a potential deadly force encounter and a potential life saved.” While Chicago officers did take in more guns in 2021 than in 2020, the actual number of firearms recovered was far fewer than 12,000, reports WGN-TV. Officers recovered 7,823 guns in 2019, averaging 651 guns per month. The next year, officers took in 9,233 guns, about 770 per month. From Jan. 1 through Nov. 30, 2021, officers recovered 8,854 guns, an average of 805 per month. Of those, 7,134 gun recoveries resulted in an arrest. The rest of the guns counted toward 2021’s total came from gun turn-in and buy-back events,
Despite 36,000 illegal guns taken off Chicago streets in recent years, trafficking remains a perplexing problem. The police department said, "Gun recoveries encompass various methods in which firearms are taken off the streets ... These methods range from long term gun trafficking investigations to investigatory stops, as well as community gun turn-in events. The majority of these guns are recovered by the men and women of the Chicago Police Department at great personal risk."