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When it comes to gun violence in Chicago, Ivanka Trump should put up or shut up

Not only were her comments factually inaccurate, but they did nothing to heal the wounds of our community or nation — or to address the root issues.

Police investigate shooting in Douglas park
Chicago Police investigate a shooting with multiple victims in Douglas Park on Aug. 4, 2019.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

I was deeply troubled to see the first daughter and senior advisor to the president, Ivanka Trump, exploit the violence that took place in Chicago this past weekend so as to distract from the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Not only were her comments factually inaccurate, as Mayor Lightfoot has pointed out, but they did nothing to heal the wounds of our community or nation, or to address the issues associated with gun violence in Chicago and the nation.

Perhaps the president’s daughter would like to distract us from the fact that the shooter in El Paso had an affinity for her father’s divisive policies and rhetoric.

We will not be distracted by misleading facts and incendiary language, but will instead remain laser-focused on what connects El Paso and Dayton to Chicago — an unfettered access to weapons of war.

If Ivanka has real solutions she would like to offer to stem the tide of gun violence, I am all ears. Perhaps she could encourage her father’s political allies to support the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act and the Gun Trafficking Prohibition Act, bills that I reintroduced earlier this year.

The Blair Holt Act would prohibit unlicensed firearm ownership and the transfer of firearms without a valid firearms license, as well as direct the president’s attorney general to establish and maintain a federal record of gun sales and conduct fingerprint-based nationwide criminal background checks.

The Gun Trafficking Prohibition Act would amend the federal criminal code to classify as criminal offenses the trafficking and straw purchasing of firearms. The bill also would prohibit transferring a firearm knowing that it will be used to commit a violent crime or drug trafficking offense.

Additionally, I would gladly invite the senior advisor to the president to attend a field hearing I am holding in Chicago in October with my colleagues on the Committee on Energy and the Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health to address the issue of gun violence as a public health concern. Although Ms. Trump is likely unqualified to participate in the hearing in a substantive way, she is more than welcome to attend, listen and learn about the issues surrounding gun violence — and the impact of this violence — in Chicago and the nation as a whole.

The comments offered by the president’s daughter are not what the American people need, and they certainly are not what the people of Chicago deserve.

Our city needs and deserves solutions. Until Ivanka Trump and her colleagues in the Trump administration are ready to come to the table with sensible solutions on gun violence, she should refrain from commenting on Chicago’s deeply felt pain.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat, has represented the First Congressional District of Illinois since 1993.

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