President Barack Obama is keeping his hometown in the gun-debate spotlight. For the second time in a month he noted Chicago's persistent violence in a major speech to the nation.
As Obama announced Wednesday a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence, he nodded to the city's murder rate while pointing to several recent massacres, including the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"The most fundamental set of rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech, high school students at Columbine and elementary school students in Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago, are too frequent a basis to tolerate," he said.
Maybe the 516 murders in Chicago last year are weighing on his mind. In his Dec. 14 public statement reacting to the Newtown shootings, Obama included his hometown in a list of tragedies while wiping away tears.
Chicago marked its 500th homicide two weeks to the day of that statement.
"As a country we have been through this too many times," Obama said. "Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children."
Following Wednesday's speech, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded by Twitter and is expected to comment again at 2 p.m.
"I support the President’s plan to ban assault weapons and clips, institute a criminal background check & crack down on gun runners," Emanuel tweeted.
Also in attendance at Wednesday's news conference was the mayor of Oak Creek, Wis..
Obama didn't forget about the town to Chicago's north where a gunman burst into a Sikh temple in August and killed seven, including himself.
"The right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wis.," Obama said.