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Emanuel, McCarthy beat the drum for assault weapons ban

Father Michael Pfleger Rev. Jesse JacksMayor Rahm Emanuel joins families community leaders call for 'commsense gun laws' St. Sabin1210 W.

Father Michael Pfleger, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins families and community leaders to call for "common sense gun laws" at St. Sabina 1210 W. 78th. Thursday, January 3, 2013 | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

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Updated: February 5, 2013 6:28AM

Flanked by parents whose children were innocent victims of gun violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanded Thursday that the Illinois General Assembly put “public safety over politics”— by banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

The emotional rally at St. Sabina’s Church was held on the same day that the Illinois Senate put off a showdown vote on the assault weapons ban because of a shortage of votes.

That makes the show-of-force in a church basement in Chicago all the more important, Emanuel said.

“These are the faces of the decision they’re gonna make. These are the parents who have to go visit — not their child, but a tombstone,” Emanuel said.

“It comes down to public safety vs. politics — and you can feel the politics start to seep in. We have to…put some backbone down in Springfield. . . . This is a time to remind the Senate the House that we’ve got their back. Now, it’s time for them to have our back. . . . You do not need an AK-47 or an Uzi for the streets of Chicago, Joliet, Aurora, Rockford, Decatur, Springfield and everything inbetween.”

Pam Bosley, whose musician son Terell was shot and killed in 2006 outside a South Side church, said Saturday would have been her son’s 25th birthday.

“Instead of visiting with him on earth, I have to visit a cemetery and wonder every single day, what would Terell look like right now at the age of 25 because I only remember the age of 18. Would he be married? Would I finally be a grandmother? How would his voice sound right now?” she said. “I have so many unanswered questions because Terell’s life was taken and he was innocent.”

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said his officers will continue “drinking from a fire hose” until Illinois: bans assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; requires gun owners to report lost, stolen or transferred firearms; mandates criminal background checks before every single gun sale and imposes mandatory minimum penalties “sufficient to deter people” from carrying illegal firearms.

“We need those five things. Not just assault weapons. Not just high-capacity magazines. We need all of it,” McCarthy said.

Noting that Chicago Police recover nine guns for every one recovered in Los Angeles, he said, “That’s insanity, folks.”

Father Michael Pfleger, whose foster son died from stray gunfire, urged Illinois voters to pick up the phone and demand that their state representatives stand up to the National Rifle Association.

“Whether we are in Aurora, Co, Tucson, Ariz., Connecticut or Chicago, we cannot say we are serious about ending violence if we lack the courage to deal with guns. We have talked for too long. And while we were talking, too many people have been killed. It’s time for action,” Pfleger said.

“If we fail to address the assault weapons ban — if we fail to stop high-capacity [magazines] and we fail to make people responsible [gun owners], we have disrespected the babies in Connecticut and we’ve disrespected the children in Chicago who’ve lost their lives.”

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