In the wake of tragic shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday called for a nationwide assault weapons ban as Chicago continues to deal with gun violence.
"As somebody who stood by President Clinton as he signed and made sure that we had a ban on assault weapons, I do not want to see more weapons on the street, more guns on the street," Emanuel told a class of graduating Chicago Police recruits. "They make your job all that more difficult."
Emanuel elevated his call from over the weekend when he stressed the need for better gun laws to ensure a tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School doesn't happen in Chicago. This time he urged for an assault weapons ban not only in Chicago but also in Illinois and across the country.
"It's time that we as a city and we as a state and we as a country make sure that you get backed up," Emanuel told the new officers.
The mayor touted an 8.45 percent drop in overall Chicago crime this year, a feat he said leads the nation in crime reduction. The drop includes 15 percent fewer burglaries and 13 percent fewer motor vehicle thefts.
As for homicides, Emanuel said, it's a more difficult story elevated by gang violence and fueled by guns.
"We've obviously seen, as a city, our shootings and our homicides going in a different direction, and we will not rest until we see that trend, that type of safety and security for all of our city in every neighborhoods, [reversed]," he said.
Rahm Wants New Gun Laws in Wake of Newtown School Shooting
Chicago has been spotlighted for its violent year, perhaps most poignantly by President Barack Obama on Friday when he listed "a street corner in Chicago" among recent mass tragedies the president said need to be avoided.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy long has called for stricter gun laws in Illinois, urging gun control accountability for firearm owners and gun tracking, specifically the requirement to "report the loss, theft or transfer of a firearm."
Emanuel echoed that sentiment on Monday, calling on Congress for the next move.
"I would hope that the leadership in Congress would now have a vote of conscience," he said.