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Mayor calls federal prosecutors’ efforts on gun crime ‘horrible’

U.S. Attorney for Northern District nominee Zachary Fardmeets with Senator Dick DurbSenator Mark Kirk  Wednesday May 29 2013.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District nominee Zachary Fardon meets with Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Mark Kirk, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 25, 2013 1:26PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday called federal prosecutors’ efforts to crack down on gun crime “horrible” in Chicago when compared to other cities like New York or Los Angeles.

To highlight his point, the mayor said a tiny fraction of the guns police and federal agents have seized in a joint operation have resulted in federal prosecutions.

“We took 400 guns off the street in our combined areas where we worked together. They prosecuted four of the 400 at the federal level. I am giving you the facts,” Emanuel said.

Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to respond.

In remarks to the Chicago Sun-Times’ editorial board, Emanuel said he’s spoken to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Chicago’s new U.S. attorney, Zachary Fardon, about the gun issue.

The mayor said he and Fardon are planning to meet about “what role the U.S. attorney will play in helping.”

“But that does not absolve us from our responsibility. It doesn’t absolve Springfield. There is a lot that needs to be fixed specifically on guns, both on the prosecutorial side, the gun prevention side and other aspects,” Emanuel said.

Earlier this year, Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks federal prosecution data, found Chicago, Los Angeles and New York ranked last in federal gun law enforcement in 2012. The districts of Eastern New York, Central California and Northern Illinois ranked 88th, 89th and 90th, respectively, out of 90 districts, in prosecutions of federal weapons crimes per capita last year, according to the clearinghouse.

On Wednesday, Fardon took the oath to become U.S. attorney here. Fardon, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, is best known for his work in the investigation and trial of Gov. George Ryan. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) have been encouraging the corruption fighter to take on street crime, too.

“I’ve advised him to be ready as soon as he is confirmed to tackle the everyday gang and gun violence plaguing the streets of our city,” Durbin said in a prepared statement.

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