Limbaugh Suggests Rahm Emanuel Keeping Chicago's Murder Rate High To Push Political Agenda
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Ignoring Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's efforts to curb youth violence, Rush Limbaugh promoted the conspiracy theory that Emanuel accepts the high rate of gun homicide in that city because the violence "provide[s] an excellent backdrop to the quest for more law."
On his radio show, Limbaugh suggested that Emanuel was not enforcing gun laws in Chicago because he's "comfortable with a certain level of violence" if it "promotes the idea we need new laws." Limbaugh pointed out that the smear resembles an old attack on President Clinton by NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre:
In fact, Emanuel has worked to reduce violence through new violence prevention initiatives and stronger enforcement of laws currently in place in Chicago. In his National Forum On Youth Violence Prevention, Emanuel laid out a comprehensive plan to combat youth violence which included gang intervention, youth shooting review, evidence-based home visiting, more family case workers, and handgun registration reform among numerous other programs in his timeline to reduce violence 20 percent in Chicago by 2020:
Emanuel has also worked to strengthen enforcement of current laws to decrease gun violence:
A package to be submitted to the City Council today will be focused on better enforcing current laws, rather than implementing new ones.
Specifically, the proposal would increase penalties for failure to report a lost, stolen, destroyed or sold weapon in Chicago to a minimum of 90 to 180 days in jail, about twice the current level. The same jail term of up to 180 days - plus a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 - would apply to those found guilty of possession of an assault weapon banned under current city law, possessing a firearm without a permit, or owning a gun with a magazine with a capacity of more than 12 bullets. The magazine statute already is on the city books.
"This is really about eliminating illegal guns from our neighborhoods," said mayoral spokesman Bill McCarthy. "The Chicago Police Department already seizes more illegal guns than any city (about 7,400 last year). This will increase the penalties for those who violate the law and put others in danger."
Limbaugh's commentary included the revival of a controversial statement made by National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. In 2000, LaPierre leveled a similar allegation against then-President Bill Clinton, stating on ABC News' Nightline, "I've come to believe he needs a certain level of violence in this country. He's willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda. And the vice president, too. I mean, how else can you explain this dishonesty we get out of the administration?"
Claiming that proponents of gun violence prevention laws actually approve of high levels of gun violence is a canard often employed by Limbaugh.
Just days after the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Limbaugh claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Operation Fast and Furious -- a botched attempt to stop the flow of weapons to Mexican drug cartels -- was actually designed by the Obama administration to cause violence in Mexico so that the public would "be outraged, rise up in anger, and say we've got to do something about it":
The logical thinking is what the [Obama] administration hoped for is that some of these guns would be used in the commission of crimes where many people were injured or killed. The news would report it. And the stories would say guns purchased legally and easily in Arizona end up in the hands of drug cartel members who use the guns to murder and injure innocent civilians and Americans were to be outraged, rise up in anger, and say we've got to do something about it. That was the plan.
He then suggested that the Sandy Hook mass shooting, which left 20 children and six educators dead, had succeeded in creating "that kind of reaction all over the country."