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A Chicago priest has called on local and national law enforcement to help stop deadly gun violence that has claimed young lives almost daily in the Windy City.

Calling it an epidemic, Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic Church said “Swine flu is a possibility that it could get worse. Gun violence is worse now.” The priest made the comments during his appearance over the weekend on CNN’s Newsroom.

Pfleger told CNN’s Don Lemon the day after two teens were shot outside of his church “We need help. We’ve had some 45 children killed this school year. A couple weekends ago, 11 people were killed. 60 some shot in a weekend. Those are numbers like you have in Iraq or you have in Afghanistan,” he added.

Pfleger said more aggressive efforts are needed in Chicago and in Washington to tackle an “epidemic” that leaves more than seven kids dead each day. Over the past decade, at least 2,600 children and teens have been killed each year by gunfire in the United States. In 2006, the year the latest national data was released by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, there were 3,022 violence-related firearm deaths reported among children under the age of 19.That comes out to about one child every 3 hours, eight children every day, and nearly 60 children every week.

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