Chicago Mayor Blames Other States With 'No Gun Control' for City's Increasing Violence

Lori Lightfoot
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 16: Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot arrives at Wrigley Field on April 16, 2020 in Chicago Illinois. Wrigley Field has been converted to a temporary satellite food packing and distribution center in cooperation with the Lakeville Food Pantry to support ongoing relief efforts underway in the city as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/Getty

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has blamed her city's worsening gun violence crisis on neighboring states with less regulation on guns, calling on President Donald Trump for support through firearms legislation and community investment—not the deployment of federal forces.

In an interview with CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning, Lightfoot called the president's offer to "solve" Chicago's soaring murder rate by sending in 50,000 to 75,000 federal personnel to the city "classic Trump hyperbole." She argued the issue lies with an influx of firearms from outside of Illinois, where she said 60 percent of the city's guns originate.

"We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, no background checks, no ban on assault weapons," Lightfoot said.

"That is hurting cities like Chicago," she added. "That is the thing that if the president wanted to help and the other things I identified in my letter he could do today, tomorrow but he is not really interested in helping in that way."

With Chicago on track to have its deadliest year in two decades, the United States' third-largest city has made headlines for rampant shootings that have already killed more than 400 people. Trump's response has been to institute a "surge" of federal law enforcement officers from Department of Justice agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as forces from the Department of Homeland Security.

"We'll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation's children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice," Trump said in remarks delivered Wednesday at the White House. "We've been doing it, and you've been seeing what's happening all around the country. We've just started this process, and, frankly, we have no choice but to get involved."

But the government has already deployed federal forces to cities like Portland and Seattle to deter violent protests and mayors of these cities, as well as Chicago, see the moves as potentially being politically motivated.

In her letter, Lightfoot offered four recommendations to the president: instituting "common-sense" gun reform nationwide; supporting city and federal public safety efforts; fostering community-based outreach; and investing in the communities by gun violence in Chicago.

She criticized the deployment of "secret, federal agents who arrest, and detain residents without any cause and then deprive those residents of due process" as "clearly unconstitutional."

"It is a bad idea and I urge you not to do it," Lightfoot wrote in her letter to the president.

Neither Lightfoot's office nor the White House responded immediately to Newsweek's request for comment.

The California-based Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence scored Illinois an A- in the organization's annual ranking of gun control laws across the country. The neighboring states of Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin, however, were graded D-, C, F, F and C-, respectively.

"Despite earning an A- for its gun laws, Illinois has a higher gun death rate than many states with similar laws because of guns trafficked in from nearby states," the center wrote." Nearly half the guns used in crimes in Illinois—and nearly 60% of the guns used in crimes in Chicago—are trafficked from states with weaker gun laws. The majority of these guns come from neighboring Indiana, which received a D- on the Scorecard for lacking many of the important gun safety protections Illinois has passed."

"Southern states with F grades, like Missouri, Kentucky, and Mississippi, also traffic hundreds of crime guns into Illinois each year," the center added.

chicago, gun, violence, washington, trump
Chicago students Christopher Robinson, Jachi Lewis and London Strong hold up images of victims of gun violence that are part of the Faces Not Forgotten project during the National Rally to End Gun Violence on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol September 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. Organized by the Newtown Action Alliance, participants called on U.S. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to pass gun safety laws. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images