Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a nationwide assault-weapons ban Monday in response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Emanuel made his remarks at a Chicago Police Department graduation ceremony Monday morning.
“It’s time that we as a city have an assault weapons ban. It’s time that we as a state have an assault weapons ban. It’s time that we as a country have an assault weapons ban,” Emanuel said. “And I would hope the leadership in Congress now will have a vote of conscience. It is time to have that vote.”
Emanuel also reminded the public of his work in the Clinton administration, which passed an assault-weapons ban in 1994 that expired in 2004. Backlash to the ban was widely seen to have helped Republicans gain a majority in the House of Representatives in November 2004.
“As somebody who stood by President Clinton’s side to make sure we had a ban on assault weapons, I do not want to see more weapons on the street, more guns on the street,” Emanuel said.
“They make your job all that more difficult,” Emanuel told the police officers in attendance.
Emanuel’s last three tweets, issued in the aftermath of Friday’s tragedy, have supported gun control measures and promoted the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a group that he serves on alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“President Clinton and I fought to pass the assault weapons ban. It’s time to renew and strengthen it. An easy vote,” Emanuel tweeted Sunday.
Emanuel’s current crusade may be part of his larger political philosophy, records reveal.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” then-incoming White House Chief of Staff Emanuel said in November 2008, while discussing his political strategy at a Wall Street Journal conference. “And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”