Shooting Prompts Renewed Call for Tighter Gun Laws

Supt. Garry McCarthy presses for national ban on assault-style weapons, enhanced background checks

Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Friday afternoon said it was a "miracle" no one was killed in the spray of bullets at a south side park that he said came from an assault-style weapon with a high-capacity magazine as he renewed his call for a nationwide ban on such weapons.

"A military grade weapon on the streets of Chicago is simply unacceptable," he told reporters. "This is something we can't accept as a civilized society."

He said at least 16 rounds had been recovered so far from the Thursday night attack at Cornell Square Park that wounded 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy.

Under a deadline created with the state's passage of concealed carry legislation, the Chicago City Council in July passed an ordinance banning assault weapons. Despite that legislation, McCarthy decried the fact that a similar law wasn't in place nationwide.

"We need to keep illegal guns and military-type weapons out of our communities," he said. "It's common sense. And it's a miracle that in this instance there have been no fatalities."

Chicago's top cop also pressed for a law that would expand the background checks required to purchase firearms. That, he said, would help stem the flow of illegal guns into the Chicago area. He pointed out that more than 5,000 illegal weapons have been taken off Chicago streets since the beginning of the year.

The U.S. Senate five months fell six votes short in passing such legislation.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that Washington has failed to pass the most basic, sensible gun legislation," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said at an unrelated event. "Our law, nationally, should say [that] if you have committed a violent felony or if you are mentally unstable, you cannot legally purchase a gun in America. That, to me, is the starting point. ... We've got to work together to make all of our cities in Illinois safer and to make sure guns don't get in the wrong hands."

White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm said President Barack Obama is committed to pushing Congress to pass "commonsense measures" and said he is doing everything in his executive power to reduce gun violence.

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