Mayor Emanuel meets with church, community leaders on conceal-carry ruling
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporteremail@example.com December 14, 2012 3:52PM
Updated: December 14, 2012 8:43PM
Hours after huddling with gun-control advocates to plot their next move in the wake of a stinging defeat, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was speaking from the heart about the pain that all parents feel after the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
“God forbid any time any parent can’t leave their child off at school with the sense that they’re in the safest place — where they’re gonna be nurtured, where they’re gonna learn in a safe environment,” said Emanuel, the father of three children attending the University of Chicago Lab School.
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to remember those children, to remember their family, to remember their communities in this time of loss to this senseless [act] of gun violence. We all have to…re-dedicate ourselves to our children, their protection and the ability to go to school and be in a place of learning, regardless of where you live.”
Earlier this week, Emanuel denounced as “wrong-headed” and a danger to Chicago a federal appeals court ruling that tossed out Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed weapons and gave the General Assembly six months to make it legal.
The mayor portrayed the justices as out of touch and urged them to come down from their ivory tower and experience the terror that Chicagoans feel in neighborhoods held hostage by gangs.
From a public relations standpoint, the Connecticut shooting massacre helps Emanuel make the case for strong controls on concealed carry and for even greater restrictions in gang-infested Chicago.
“All of us have a role to play….It’s incumbent upon us today to remember them, to put `em in our prayer and to re-dedicate ourselves to making sure that our laws reflect what is important to us: That is the safety of our children and their protection,” the mayor said.
“To all the families at Sandy Hook Elementary School…and all the parents — and I can say this as a parent — that sense that, when you take your kids to school, put `em on a bus, drop `em off, that you can do it with the peace of mind that they’re going to a place to learn and not to worry about their safety. That should be a fundamental right.”
Friday’s strategy session on gun control was scheduled after the concealed-carry ruling and before the Connecticut school shooting.
Participants included: U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Il.), who lost a son to gun violence; State Reps. Barbara Flynn Currie, Esther Golar and Eddie Acevedo; State Senators Tony Munoz and Jacqueline Collins and Aldermen Will Burns (4th), Michelle Harris (8th), Deborah Graham (29th), Rey Colon (35th) and Harry Osterman (48th).
Also in on the discussion of potential legislative and policy solutions to Chicago ’s ongoing battle against gun violence triggered by the proliferation of gangs were religious and community leaders and the chief of emergency medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
“We came up with a number of innovative ideas that we will be pursuing in the coming weeks and months,” the mayor said in a news release issued after the meeting without revealing specifics.
“We stand committed in our resolve. We will not waver in this commitment.”
The mayor offered his emotional reaction at an event made superfluous by the Connecticut massacre: to mark the opening of protected bike lanes on Dearborn.
“It does remind you of how fragile life is.... That’s not to be a downer about this, but to observe how fortunate this event is because of how life can be,” he said.