Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday that Democrats pushing gun control must focus “on the criminal, not the gun” if they want Republican support.
“Back when we passed the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, we focused on the criminal, not the gun. Now we’re focusing on the gun,” the Democrat said.
“I would go back to terrorists — ‘No fly, no buy’ — cannot happen,” he continued. “Two, you have a domestic violence record, which is 10% of all homicides in America, you’re banned from buying a gun. You have a violent criminal record as a juvenile, you can’t buy a gun. You have a mental health issue, and anything on violence on mental health, you can’t buy a gun.
“If you focus on the criminal piece, not access to the gun, Republicans then realize it’s not about gun access, which would have, obviously, a Second Amendment issue, but the criminal element, which is how Clinton focused on both Brady, which is a five-day waiting period for a criminal background check, and the assault weapon ban, which was also a gun of choice by gangs,” he added.
Political commentator Margaret Hoover said Mr. Emanuel’s argument fell in line with a popular motto by gun rights advocates.
“It sounds like you’re saying, guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” Ms. Hoover remarked. “That was the NRA tagline for so long.”
Mr. Emanuel pushed back, saying he is “no friend” of the National Rifle Association.
“Given that Republicans are not going to vote for this, you have to get the access,” he reiterated. “The debate back in the ‘90s, the last time we passed it, was on the criminal element. That’s where the debate should be. And I want to be clear, the Proud Boys are on a domestic terrorist list.”
House Democrats voted earlier this month to expand criminal background checks to all gun sales and transfers, but Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate have voiced opposition. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Thursday he would bring background check legislation to the floor shortly after the Senate returns on April 12.
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