What’s been done to help trigger change?

A city-wide “Gun-Turn-In” event in July recovered more than 6,700 guns from residents, no questions asked, no charges filed. The third annual collection offered $100 prepaid gift cards to anyone bringing in guns or rifles, which were then test-fired and compared for still unresolved shootings or killings.

The Chicago Department of Children and Youth Services this summer asked youngsters to take a stand against violence by taking a “pledge for peace.” The agency’s “Faces Against Violence” is a three-month campaign in July, August and September for city youth to be videotaped by peers while telling personal stories about how they have overcome violence.

A recent Chicago Police Department study stated that two-thirds of the most common gun convictions in 2005 resulted in a probation sentence and no jail time. Police officials say they would pursue legislation making jail time mandatory for certain gun convictions.

At least two cities, Fort Worth and San Francisco, are the latest to combat gangs by suing them in court through civil injunction lawsuits aimed at disrupting gang activity, allowing police to stop and question gang members, and barring them from hanging on street corners. So far, these sorts of injunctions have withstood court challenges.

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