June 19th, 2009
03:14 PM ET

Uh oh, he's got a gun!!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/04/05/pittsburgh.officers.shot.dog/art.pittsburgh.03.gi.jpg]

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

I’ll never forget a story I was working on about five years ago in Chicago.

It was a story on housing scams on the south and west areas of the city. I was snooping around an abandoned building that had been purchased for an incredible amount of money. I went around back and two pit bulls were about ready to attack each other. I realized they were getting trained to fight and I knew there was trouble around the corner. I tried to quietly walk away, but I was spotted.

Three guys started coming after me, so I ran as fast as I could back to my car. I don’t think they would have done anything to me, I probably could have told them what I was doing and been just fine, but as I was starting the car, one guy was raising his hands and I noticed a gun in the front of his pants. They let me drive away and that was that.

But ask any kid around here in the tough neighborhoods and they’ll tell you how to get a gun. I’m not arguing for or against gun control. It’s just a fact: guns are easy to get here, even when it’s illegal to have them in Chicago. Another fact, they are using them at an alarming rate. According the police department, in the first five months of this year close to 700 people have been shot. This school year, 36 Chicago Public School children have been killed, most of them by gun shots.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I were in the emergency room of Advocate Christ Medical Center near Chicago last week. We watched as people who were shot were rushed to the hospital and taken to the operating room. Tonight we bring you the story that you don’t see. It’s the story that doctors see here on a daily basis, people fighting for their lives after being shot on Chicago’s streets.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gun Violence • Ismael Estrada
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. johanna

    Now people arer going to blame the media for gun problems too.I have nothing against ppl owning a couple to protect themselves at home but I blame the NRA for not allowing any decent laws to be passed.They are in the hands in the pockets of many politicians;right wing mostly who tie the hands of anyone trying to make this country safer.

    Gun shows still sell guns w/o following laws about background cks etc. Who needs an uzie anyway or military weapons to protect. They are purchased to Kill! NRA is a joke. If they were legite, they wouldnt care if more smart laws were passed. Look at our murder rates compared to other countries where guns are regulated properly.

    Last, Dont put blame where it doesnt belong. I havent ever seen an ad for guns on my tv. I dont see the correlation.Guns kill ppl. We dont need more/ we need more restrictions on them so they dont get into the hands of criminals who want to kill innocent ppl.

    June 20, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  2. George Sands

    I think people need, to be allowed to have their guns. I also believe, the country needs to adopt strict ownership rules. we have enormous problems, with the system as it is. tighter regulations may be the answer. we are a scary nation. the old clichie that when guns are outlawed only criminals will have guns, and the other famous qoute is guns don't kill people ,people kill people is worn out. we need to address the issue, with honest debate. with real concern, for making sure, that we intend to adopt measures,to keep guns, out of the hands of thugs. a lot can be done. stop saying, it can't be stoped. a lot can be done ,and a lot needs to be done.

    June 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  3. Rose from Muscoy, Calif

    Every one knows that when our economic goes bad who is the one who suffers the POOR. Yes, it is easy to get any kind of gun if you know how and if you have the money, what little money? Cheap, it depends where, when, how and who? There's no laws when it comes to illegal guns in the street of Chicago or Los Angeles, California!

    June 19, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  4. Jim,

    We did not have that problem 100 years ago- So why today? I'll tell you why- Back then God & the Bible were a part of more peoples lives, the Bible & ten commandments were in the schools, Children were taught right from wrong, A promise made was a promise kept .As for guns children were taught from a young age what they were & that they were not toys & to leave them alone.plus the guns were loaded & kept in a rack over the door in case it was needed for self defense out of the reach of children.

    June 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  5. Tim Gibson

    Obama left behind the smell of gun powder for the smell of HIV/AIDS in DC.

    Education perhaps, one that instills values, you earn things, you do not take them, and that includes life.

    June 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  6. Art

    " It ain't the gun, it's the gunner."

    June 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  7. sixtiesgirl

    To sule:

    Sorry I live in Texas too. And NO every household DOES NOT own a gun. We don't. And, It's probably a good thing. It's not that I think someone will take it from me and shoot me. I'm more worried about myself shooting ithose that have a neanderthal mentality level of deriving fact from fiction. Closed mindedness and the inability to emphathize is the true essence of our problems in this country. Just too much HATE. And, it comes from all directions. I just can't bring myself to obliterate those who know not that they know not. It's a "Christian" thing... I think.

    June 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  8. Peter McGovern

    Our economy depends on us needing what we do not need to be satisfied. It is no surprise that people will shoot each other over a pair of expensive shoes, for example..This is mostly done through the media. Your dependence on advertising creates the very conflict of interest that allows these unnecessary needs to propagate. Ironically, although you report on the problem, you create the context in which the problem exists.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  9. sule

    When it comes to guns I will say somehow we have to be able to seperate the good guys from the bad. I live in Texas and everyhousehold has minumum 2 guns in the house and I have never heard anyone just shooting anybody with no reason. I don't like guns but I have a right to bear arms and I will keep them in my house to protect my family and my propery.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  10. lisa

    why is it so easy for a person to own a hand gun tougher laws need to be passed.these guns end up in the wrong hand an it's innocent victims who payed the price i live in nyc an every day on the news especially in new jersey there's a shooting an who's the victim the children of our future it's a bloody shame some thing more needs to be done just two weeks ago at a base ball game a young kid was grazed by a bullet luckily he survived it hurts my heart to see when this happens

    June 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  11. meanlittle1

    you can get a gun on any street corner, for a small price, age doesnt matter, reason dosent matter, and no one tries to stop any of this.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  12. JC- Los Angeles

    The silence is deafening from President Obama over the horrific crime on the streets of Chicago, his own hometown.

    As an Independent who voted for Barack Obama, it's beyond the pale for the President to suggest that he can change global attitudes towards America when he failed to even impact Chicago.

    As evidenced by Rod Blagojevich, Chicago politics are a cesspool; as evidenced by the hospital traffic, the streets are a shooting gallery.

    It's time for the mainstream media to ask President Obama for his thoughts on these deplorable issues.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Guns should be legal, but should cost over 5k for just a simple hand gun and tax the crap out of the ammo. That would curb waisted shooting of those who cannot afford the hike in bullet cost.. This will cover the illegal side of things at bay, while keeping those who legally owns guns more of a value of ownership rather than a show of strength and pride. Take the tax money from guns and ammo sales and get us Univeral Healthcare.


    June 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  14. Freedom4All

    Thanks for covering this topic. I hope you will ask some of these armed young men EXACTLY how they get their guns. Let's remember, all of those guns originate from gun stores, and many of them make their ways into the hands of criminals and underage youth after being illegally straw purchased. Straw purchases are common because there is little regulation of gun dealers in our country and they are allowed to claim ignorance of the law as a full defense when they violate federal laws.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  15. Mandie

    guns don't kill people... it's just the bullet ripping thru flesh...

    June 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Freedom Lover

    Hmm.. so are you saying that prohibition of anything- drugs, guns, sex, etc. just doesn't work and makes things more dangerous, in fact?

    Maybe Dr. Gupta and Anderson can ask themselves these questions and reflect on the violence in America and how drug prohibition is a root cause? But that might be actual journalism, so I doubt that will happen. Will the question of prohibition of ANYTHING be brought up? When you turn control over to black markets, you get ugly results. Ask Al Capone (hey, Chicago! What a tie-in!)

    June 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm |