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CHICAGO (CBS) – Top Chicago Democrats were giving President Barack Obama high marks for the plans he announced Wednesday to help quell gun violence.
The president announced he will press Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks on all gun purchases; reinstate the ban on military-style assault weapons; renew a 10-round limit on the size of ammunition magazines; and prohibit the possession, transfer, manufacture, or import of armor-piercing bullets.
He also issued 23 executive orders that don’t require Congressional approval, including a requirement that federal agencies make more data available for background checks, and that the Centers for Disease Control research gun violence.
WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she believes all the elements of the president’s gun safety proposals will help ease the tide of gun violence across the country.
“The proposal is a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. You know, the terrible tragedies that we’ve seen in elementary schools and theaters in the last year were surely made worse by the availability of assault weapons,” she said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Obama’s proposed gun restrictions “a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to gun-safety rules.”
“These are exactly the common sense laws that we need as a city and a nation to help prevent the gun violence that too often plagues our communities. People throughout the country are supportive of common sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and give law enforcement officials the tools they need to protect our children, our families and our neighborhoods,” the mayor said in a written statement.
Emanuel plans to introduce his own gun control ordinances at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
Gov. Pat Quinn also praised the president’s gun control proposals, calling them “the first step of a comprehensive public safety plan that Congress must act upon.”
The County Board has voted to ask the Illinois General Assembly to approve a state ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, require gun registrations, and broaden background checks to include sales at gun shows.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports some data that suggests that – at least in past decades – 80 percent of people who used guns in a crime bought that gun on the secondary market – meaning, not from a licensed gun dealer, with no background check required.
“It’s quite an issue that criminals are able to get guns indirectly, in ways that evade the background check system,” said professor Harold Pollack, co-director of the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago.
Pollack said he supports universal background checks for firearm sales, and he said he doesn’t think it would be difficult to enforce.
“I think that this structure would give law enforcement the tools that it needs,” he said.
Pollack said requiring background checks for all gun purchases is the single most important item in the Obama plan.
The Cook County Board also will consider requirements that gun owners report when firearms are lost, stolen, or transferred to someone else.