Kirk said his home state of Illinois leads the nation in per-capita gang members. He has fought for legislation that would increase federal spending on anti-gang measures.

“That is why I fought for additional federal resources to combat the Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and other ‘Gangs of National Significance’ that are destroying our communities,” Kirk said. “I hope Congress quickly passes this legislation so we can increase our anti-gang efforts, with the ATF taking a leading role.”

Kirk was able to secure more than $19 million in the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which passed out of committee last month. Those funds would go to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its law enforcement agencies with directives to locate, arrest, prosecute and convict members of “Gangs of National Significance."

Kirk said federal resources make a “huge difference” in anti-gang law enforcement. That is why the CJS appropriations bill also gives ATF an additional $100 million to hire more agents.

In a letter to ATF Director Todd Jones, Kirk said the current situation is “intolerable” and needed to be fixed. Kirk asked Jones to appoint a Chicago-based anti-gang coordinator for Illinois.

“The rationale for this ATF, anti-gang coordinator is clear,” Kirk wrote. “Hundreds of Chicago’s citizens have been wounded or killed by gangs of national significance.”