Lightfoot blasts Sen. Cruz on gun control

Chicago mayor blames violence on guns ‘from states dominated by coward Republicans like you’

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was not about to accept criticism on the city’s gun-control policies from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was not about to accept criticism on the city’s gun-control policies from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

By Ted Cox

Chicago’s mayor and a Texas senator exchanged fire over the Labor Day weekend on the issues of street violence and gun control.

As Texas processed a Saturday shooting by a disgruntled former employee that left seven dead and 25 wounded in Odessa, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the former Republican presidential candidate, tweeted that showed that “gun control doesn’t work.” He specifically cited Chicago, saying, “Disarming law-abiding citizens isn’t the answer. Stopping violent criminals — prosecuting & getting them off the street — BEFORE they commit more violent crimes is the most effective way to reduce murder rates. Let’s protect our citizens.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was having none of it after guns left seven dead and at least 30 others shot and wounded in her city over the Labor Day weekend. In a tweet of her own, she pointed to data showing that the majority of guns confiscated in Chicago come from out of state, with just 40 percent purchased in Illinois.

Using her campaign Twitter feed rather than her Chicago’s Mayor account, Lightfoot lashed back that “60 percent of illegal firearms recovered in Chicago come from outside Illinois — mostly from states dominated by coward Republicans like you who refuse to enact common-sense gun legislation.” She told Cruz in no uncertain terms: “Keep our name out of your mouth.”

She added, “When Ted Cruz and the GOP dismiss common-sense gun policies, they disrespect victims and their families, who deserve to live without pain and fear.”

Lightfoot was citing statistics from a 2017 Chicago Police Department “Gun Trace Report,” which found that more than a fifth of the guns confiscated in Chicago between 2013 and 2016, 21 percent, had come from Indiana.

Lightfoot’s predecessor, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, found himself frequently called on to dismiss the right-wing propaganda that Chicago’s persistent problem of gun violence was in spite of the city’s strict gun laws. He once said that court rulings applied a “straightjacket” against the city’s attempt to adopt common-sense gun control.

Emanuel’s first Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy once joined the mayor in saying: “Chicago does not have strict gun laws. The state of Illinois does not have strict gun laws that prevent the facilitation of the flow of firearms into our streets.” Emanuel and McCarthy frequently pointed to New York as a state with tougher gun laws — and a reduction in gun violence in New York City as a result.

Cruz was also up against his own state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who tweeted on Monday: “Not only did the Odessa gunman have a criminal history ... he also previously failed a gun-purchase background check in Texas.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove chimed in Tuesday. Using his personal Twitter account rather than his congressman account, he responded to Cruz: “This isn't true. Background checks, assault-rifle bans and gun buy-back programs are proven to work.” He added that “the single biggest cause of gun death in Chicago is our proximity to Indiana.”