Emanuel criticizes Trump over Las Vegas response; Rauner wants ‘dialogue’ about guns


Armando L. Sanchez

Mayor Rahm Emanuel looks at a group of protesters that interrupted a press conference in front of his home after the mayor hosted a dinner with immigrant students Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 in Chicago, IL.

Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on the President Donald Trump administration Tuesday to “take responsibility and accountability for something” following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, while Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he looks “forward to having the ongoing dialogue” about guns.

Emanuel’s comments followed Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders bringing up Chicago violence during a Monday briefing to say tougher gun laws wouldn’t have helped prevent the deaths of at least 59 people and injuries to more than 500 more when a gunman opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas strip. Sanders said the high gun violence and strict gun laws in Chicago show tough firearms rules “certainly hasn’t helped there.”

“I really do wish once in this administration, they’d take responsibility and accountability for something,” Emanuel said when appearing at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to talk about security preparations for the upcoming Chicago marathon and Cubs playoff games.


Emanuel said Chicago’s gun laws are similar to big cities like New York and Los Angeles that have much lower gun violence rates.

The difference, according to the mayor, is that Wisconsin and Indiana have lax gun purchase rules and Chicago criminals have easy access to those states. “That’s why you need national gun legislation that prevents gang members or criminals from getting their hands on an assault weapon that is not meant for the streets of any urban center,” Emanuel said.

The mayor joined OEMC director Alicia Tate-Nadeau and police and fire department officials at a meeting to prepare for marathon security. Tate-Nadeau said the city already had plans in place prior to Las Vegas to deal with the kind of “high vantage point shooter” situation that occurred there. While officials will pay special attention to those rules ahead of the marathon Sunday and a Cubs playoff game at Wrigley Field Monday, Tate-Nadeau said there are no plans to change or bolster them in light of the Las Vegas attack.

At a flu shot event Tuesday, Rauner was asked about gun control measures and called the shooting “so horrible, it’s beyond description.”

“Mental illness and behavior like that is just, it’s such a terrible challenge in our society. I hope we as a society can talk further about things we can do to help keep people safe, safer,” the governor said. “No easy answers, but I look forward to having the ongoing dialogue and see what we can come together as a society to deal with mental illness, deal with behaviors that are so outrageous like to try and prevent it.”

Asked if he favors an assault weapons ban, Rauner said he was “not going to get into specific policies. I think all of us should take a moment to remember and to keep the victims and their families our in thoughts and prayers and I hope can can have an ongoing, constructive dialogue about what we can do to keep all Americans safer.”

Either side of the gun debate can have a tough time changing state laws because of the differing regional attitudes toward firearms across Illinois. Previous efforts to ban assault weapons haven’t succeeded in Springfield, and it took a federal court decision to compel lawmakers to legalize the carrying of concealed weapons. Another challenge is that it’s difficult to define an assault weapon, asgun makers can make minor tweaks and fall outside the criteria.



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