Obama to push for prison reform, gun control in Chicago

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

CHICAGO (CBS) — A sharp disagreement emerged today between America’s top federal law enforcement official and local police chiefs meeting here in Chicago.CHICAGO — With President Obama weighing whether to take executive action to expand the nation’s gun laws, several high-profile law enforcement officials on Monday called on federal lawmakers to strengthen background checks on gun purchases.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.

CHICAGO – Police chiefs from across the United States have called for universal background checks for firearms purchases, citing opinion polls in which most Americans consistently support such restrictions.Seeking to build support for a bipartisan criminal justice overhaul, President Obama will speak to a group of police chiefs on Tuesday in his hometown of Chicago. 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. But Obama also plans to wade into the politically divisive issue of gun control during his speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “He will continue to push for criminal justice reforms that will make the system smarter, more effective, and more fair, while addressing the need for commonsense gun safety reforms,” a White House official said in a statement.

Acknowledging the power of the gun lobby and the reluctance of Congress to enact stricter gun laws, the police chiefs told a news conference Monday that they were not anti-gun, but wanted to keep weapons out of the hands of people with criminal backgrounds. Obama is seeking to capitalize on bipartisan momentum behind reducing the nation’s large prison population, which could hand him a major legislative victory during his final 15 months in office.

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. Current rules on background checks apply to licensed dealers, but up to 40 percent of firearms sales involve private parties or gun shows and do not require checks, the chiefs said. “This is a no-brainer, this is the simplest thing in the world,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “It troubles me all the time.” Backing the effort is an alliance of organizations representing police chiefs and executives, such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association and groups representing women, Hispanic and African-American law enforcement executives and police chiefs, as well as campus law enforcement administrators. 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.

McCarthy said he was passionate about the issue after four years on the job in Chicago, which has more shootings and killings than other big cities like New York and Los Angeles, and where police seize illegal guns at a much higher rate. I do think you can expect the president to touch on this.” Obama is chatting with the cops officers chiefs primarily about criminal justice reform, Earnest added. 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.

That’s the first thing that we have to realize.” McCarthy and his fellow police chiefs argued that easy access to guns was the real problem, with national background checks at the top of their wish list and stiffer sentences for gun crimes not far behind. 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. Chicago ends up being a pretty good illustration for why those kinds of national laws are important to the safety of communities all across the country. That effort took a step forward last week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a proposal that would reduce certain mandatory minimum sentences. Earnest took the other view: The city of Chicago is an effective illustration of why permitting local jurisdictions to place in place these gun safety laws does not work since it is just too straightforward for these with offensive intentions to only cross the city line or simply cross the county line & make a handgun purchase in that they’re prevented from making in another jurisdictions.

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. A Gallup poll released last week showed 55 percent of Americans preferred tighter regulations on gun sales, something the National Rifle Association generally opposes.

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. But if it reaches Obama’s desk, it would be a significant achievement given partisan divisions in Congress that have been deepened by election-year politics.

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. The president pushed for a package of new gun laws following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which included expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons.

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