By Derrick Blakley

CHICAGO (CBS) — From City Hall to the White House, leaders were openly pondering how to make schools and streets safer.

But the approach varied widely depending on whether they saw guns or troubled people as the problem.

More from CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley.

Every year, says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we lose more than half as many Americans to gun violence as we did during the entire Vietnam War.

“As we spoke up as a nation about the consequences in blood and treasure in Vietnam, we have got to as country come together as it relates to gun violence,” says Emanuel.

The question is how to do it.

“Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority,” says President Donald Trump.

When asked what she’d like to see at that conference, Colleen Daley of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence says a specific topic needs to be broached.

“If you’re going to have a conference, first of all you have to talk about guns. It can’t be solely about mental health,” says Daley.

That’s what President Trump focused on.

“And tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” says Trump.

He never mentioned guns.

Daley and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence are seeking to pass a bill in Springfield to license gun dealers.

“What this bill would do is background checks on employees, basic security measures. Training for employees to make sure that they know how to identify a straw purchaser,” says Daley. “To make sure they know who they should and should not to sell guns to.”

Gun control advocates are now focused on lawmakers at the state level, because no one expects changes in gun laws from Washington.

That bill to license gun dealers has passed the Illinois Senate and is now pending in the Illinois House, which is the farthest it’s advanced in 15 years of trying.

CBS 2 reached out to three pro-gun groups to ask what they would like to see discussed at President Trump’s school safety conference.

So far there has been no reply.


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