In speech in Chicago, Obama to call for tougher gun laws

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FBI Head, Police Chiefs Disagree On Impact Increased Scrutiny Having On Police Officers.

President Barack Obama returns Tuesday to his hometown, a city that has become a national symbol of gun violence, to speak with police leaders from around the country about the need for tougher firearm laws. WASHINGTON — President Obama will make his case on Tuesday for an overhaul of the nation’s sentencing laws, telling a gathering of top law enforcement officials in Chicago that putting large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders in prison is neither fair nor an effective way of combating crime, White House officials said.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A sharp disagreement emerged today between America’s top federal law enforcement official and local police chiefs meeting here in Chicago.White House press secretary Josh Earnest conceded Monday that Chicago is a city with a high rate of gun crimes and murder despite having very strict gun control laws. In his speech at the annual conference for the International Association of Chiefs of Police at McCormick Place, Obama is expected to push for national laws that make it harder to get around local restrictions by simply driving across a state border with less stringent gun laws. CBS 2 Chief correspondent Jay Levine says an issue first raised by Mayor Emanuel about camera shy cops has spread from city hall to city streets and all the way to the White House.

Weaker guns laws in Indiana, for instance, have long been a problem for Chicago police, leading to a steady stream of illegal guns crossing the border and ending up on the city’s West and South sides. A recent report issued by the city said 60 percent of the illegal guns recovered by Chicago police from 2009 to 2013 came from out of state, many from Indiana.

It also asked Congress to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to ensure that all states and federal agencies include disqualifying records in the system. That increase has come as a series of shootings of unarmed black men by officers across the country has contributed to increasing mistrust between African-Americans and the police. The backdrop for both groups was another weekend of violence in Chicago, more shootings, more killings and an FBI director here today and struggling to come up with a reason for it. “In today’s Youtube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime?” said FBI Director James Comey. “Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys with guns from standing around?” “My officers are working,” said McCarthy. “I absolutely know that. These men and women are out there putting their lives on the line every single day.” But those who gathered today at what they called a kind of local wailing wall, said whatever McCarthy’s men and women were doing, wasn’t working, in part because of a lack of trust between people here and police. “Let’s just get right to the heart of this,” McCarthy said. “This training is not going to reverse 300 years of history in this country. Last year, federal authorities counted more than 2,500 instances when someone who should have been prevented from purchasing a weapon was able to obtain one because three days had passed without the check being completed. “The common denominator from Chicago to Charlotte is that guns are getting in the hands of the wrong people and lives are being erased, all because easy access to guns by people intent on doing harm to themselves or others,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Obama would take note of the unusually high murder rate in Chicago, his hometown, by also renewing his call for gun control measures, though the president is not expected to announce any new proposals to limit gun purchases. McCarthy has seen homicides rise 19% and shooting incidents rise by 18% in the Windy City so far in 2015 even as police have made 25% more gun-related arrests in the city so this year.

More than 466,000 people were victims of crimes involving guns in the USA last year, up 40% from the prior year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Earnest did not have an update as to where things stood regarding possible executive actions on guns, which administration officials have said are pending. Mass shootings, such as this month’s rampage at an Oregon community college that left 10 dead and nine others wounded, are also occurring more frequently. The president also plans to use the speech in Chicago to announce what officials are calling a guidebook to carrying out the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st-Century Policing.

Is this what we want in our society?” said Jim Johnson, chief of police of Baltimore County, Md. “It’s like letting 40 percent of people walk through the (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoint at the airport without any check at all. The president made a failed attempt at pushing tougher gun legislation in the aftermath of the 2012 massacre at Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children and six adult staff members were killed. Jackson, the longtime civil rights leader and president of the Rainbow PUSH/Coalition, said the same societal issues that lead to gun violence — poverty and segregation in African-American and Hispanic communities — continue to persist without solutions. “We’re still searching for the light,” Jackson said. “… The gun manufacturer is protected by law. Comey said the increase in violent crime was, in part, the result of a new hesitancy by police officers to engage in encounters that could turn violent and be recorded by bystanders. Officials said the president would make the case that by reducing the focus on nonviolent offenders, officers would be in a better position to confront more serious crimes.

That is the goal of legislation being worked on in the Senate, where lawmakers from both parties are pushing to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences and give judges more discretion in sentencing. But aides said they were optimistic that it might provide the basis for a rare moment of consensus, even in a presidential election year. “We’ve got a long way to go, and making predictions about bipartisanship on Capitol Hill are not usually good bets,” Mr.

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