Rep. Thompson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Agree on Comprehensive Gun Reform
One month after the horrific and devastating Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were shot and killed, the Center for American Progress (CAP) held a panel discussion with Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) on gun violence prevention.
“There are sportsmen who don’t have Uzis and are not interested in having an AK-47,” Emanuel said, shifting the gun conversation away from lawful gun owners to instead focus on criminals who get their hands on deadly assault weapons. Assault weapons, he added, were the primary choice of gangbangers, and that “they weren’t purchasing this stuff for a Mother’s Day gift."
Thompson, an avid hunter and gun owner, returned to Washington on Monday to meet with Vice President Joe Biden as the White House continued preparation on the release its recommendations for legislative and executive actions to curb gun violence. Thompson, who heads the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, proposed universal background checks, access to mental health, banning assault magazines, and enforcing current laws as a comprehensive approach to tackling the issue of gun violence.
Emanuel, who was former President Bill Clinton’s senior adviser during the passage of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, agreed but also called for city pension funds to examine whether they have investments in assault weapons manufacturers as the first step toward cutting off financial lifelines.
The Newtown massacre has been a tipping point in the gun violence debate. Thompson remains optimistic of gaining bipartisan support to pass gun violence legislation in the House and Senate.
Biden is expected to roll out his recommendations for comprehensive gun violence legislation Wednesday, with as many as 19 executive actions President Obama could take on the issue alone.
Shawn Shaligram is an Online Communications Intern with Campus Progress. You can follow him on Twitter at @shatelegram.