Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and mayors from around the country called on the Obama administration Wednesday to do more to keep illegal weapons off city streets while Chicago experiences another violent summer.
A letter Emanuel sent last year to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch pushing for action to address gun violence went “completely unanswered,” according to a news release from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The Brady campaign’s latest letter, signed by Emanuel, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and more than 100 other mayors, urged Lynch to take new steps to crack down on gun dealers linked to weapons used in crimes. According to the Brady campaign, 5 percent of the nation’s firearms dealers provide 90 percent of the guns used in crimes. Wednesday’s letter noted many of those “bad apple” gun dealers are licensed through the Department of Justice. The mayors called on Lynch to take more aggressive steps to shut down dealers that engage in irresponsible or illegal business practices that contribute to the number of illegal firearms on city streets.
“Gun violence impacts us all, and every day that ‘bad apple’ gun dealers are allowed to operate and put more guns out on our streets, is another day someone’s father or mother or child is lost to gun violence,” the letter stated. “That is why we implore you to take swift, meaningful action to work with our cities and communities to reform a system that allows for ‘bad apple’ gun dealers to operate and make all Americans safer.”
Emanuel’s administration has pushed for state legislation imposing stiffer penalties for gun crimes, including mandatory minimums sentences. While Chicago has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, lax rules in neighboring localities and states contribute to the thousands of weapons that flood into Chicago every year.