Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, during a news conference Thursday, suggested Chicago officials call on the National Guard, if necessary, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"Just like we do with any disaster, when the tornado comes or the floods come, the federal government comes in to help," he said.
"Let's not let this be about pride: 'We are big ol' Chicago, we are too proud, we can handle this.'
"Maybe you can't handle it. If you need help, get the federal government here. But let's control the streets so children and elderly people can be in a safe community," Honore added.
Honore was speaking at the Chicago Military Academy as part of The HistoryMakers project recording the stories of African-American military leaders, the Tribune said.
He spoke against gun violence in Chicago, which led to more than 500 homicides last year. It was the first time since 2008 that Chicago had that many killings and represented a 16 percent jump from 2011, the newspaper said.
Rondell Freeman, a 17-year-old junior at Prologue Early College High School, was at the news conference and told the Tribune Honore's suggestion is extreme but necessary.
"We should do whatever it takes to end the violence, so we won't have to feel scared," he said. "These kids have guns. We need experienced people that can stop them."