Lightfoot Calls for New Gun Laws After Deadly Mass Shootings

"Universal background check should be non-controversial. And yet it is," Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday called on the federal government to pass new gun laws in the wake of two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, as well as a violent weekend across Chicago that saw more than 50 people shot.

"We send our thoughts and prayers, of course. Our heart breaks for the victims and their families, of course," she said at a news conference, when asked about the shootings that killed at least 22 at a Texas Walmart and left nine others dead at a bar in Ohio.

"But at some point if we don't step up as a country and really think about what the root causes of the problem are and actually take action to start to address them - for me it starts with common sense gun reform. Universal background check should be non-controversial. And yet it is," Lightfoot continued.

She called for uniform regulations across the country, in part to help identify red flags of those seeking to purchase firearms, asking, "How do you have a red flag if you don't have a universal background check? How do you have a red flag if you have this patchwork of state regulations that are not uniform?"

"We are very different in Illinois than we are in Indiana and we're neighbors. Same thing with Wisconsin and Michigan," Lightfoot continued. "That's why we need the federal government to step up and do its job to fill these voids."

"Yes, of course we shouldn't allow people who have a demonstrated track record of violence or mental illness to have guns but that becomes difficult when every state has a different set of rules and people can travel and purchase firearms at an alarming rate," she added.

Lightfoot said she had reached out to the mayors of both El Paso and Dayton, the latter of which she said she knows personally.

"I feel for the mayors, I absolutely feel for the people whose lives have now been abruptly shattered by this chaos that is coming at the end of a gun. And seeing the horrifying images of the shooter in the Walmart in El Paso - those are images that sear into your brain and you never, never escape," she said.

Lightfoot also spoke of the violence that plagued Chicago over the weekend - with shootings leaving at least seven people dead and 48 others wounded across the city between Friday evening and Monday morning.

Twenty-five people were shot in one four hour-span early Sunday, according to police, with the majority of those taking place in two shootings: seven wounded at once near a Douglas Park playground, as well as one killed and seven more wounded in a shooting near a Lawndale school.

"As a city, we have to stand up and do a hell of a lot more than we've done in a very long time," Lightfoot said, speaking directly following a meeting focused on the city's mental health trauma response to violence, and after spending a portion of her Saturday on the city's West Side.

"I can't say that the things that I saw on Saturday are things that I have even the capacity to process yet," she continued. "I left this area on Saturday night feeling devastated and heartbroken but also determined to make a difference in the lives of the people here on the West Side. We have to do better."

And of President Donald Trump, Lightfoot said she wanted him to set a "different moral frame for people to be able to come together" and to lean on Congress to pass "common sense gun reform."

"As the leader of our country, I implore the president to set a better, clearer moral tone because what he's been doing has been blowing every racist, xenophobic dog whistle. And when you do that, when you blow that kind of dog whistle, animals come out," she said.

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