Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday portrayed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a gun dealer licensing bill as the height of hypocrisy, but Rauner stood his ground in demanding a more “comprehensive” solution.
As he urged the Illinois General Assembly to override the governor’s veto, Emanuel ridiculed Rauner for vetoing the bill licensing state gun dealers on grounds it’s burdensome, yet imposing new regulations on catfish sales in restaurants.
“We, in Chicago, have experience overriding the governor’s vetoes because he vetoed every one of our pension bills. We overrode him and we did it with bi-partisan support,” the mayor said.
Emanuel believes the same fate awaits the gun dealer licensing bill, in part because the governor’s argument about “too much regulation on businesses” is the height of hypocrisy.
“He signed regulation on catfish sales at restaurants in August of 2017, and then said this was too burdensome,” the mayor told a news conference at police headquarters.
“Catfish sales? That required regulation. Gun sales? Big Brother government . . . His words ring hollow and empty.”
The mayor then talked about the condolence call he placed this past weekend to the grandmother of 16-year-old Jaheim Wilson.
Wilson was gunned down shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday while walking with a 13-year-old friend in the 5100-block of West Huron Street in the West Side’s gang-ridden Austin community.
“Try calling Grandmother Wilson and tell her what a burden feels like,” the mayor told a news conference at police headquarters.
In vetoing the bill, Rauner called the bill licensing gun dealers a feel-good measure that would duplicate federal regulation and do little to improve safety.
He called on the four legislative leaders to appoint members to a public safety commission to talk about mental health and school safety, then devise what he called a “comprehensive solution.”
On Monday, the governor said he planned to present “very specific proposals on a bi-partisan basis” in the next few weeks. That’s even though he is “disappointed that, so far, the Senate Democrats have not chosen to participate” in the task force.
“We need to take strong action to reduce the violence in our communities and in our schools and we can do this,” Rauner said.
“There are good policy moves that we can make that are respectful of our federal Constitution, but that will actually significantly increase public safety [and] reduce gun violence.”
After weekend talks with House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, Emanuel believes the chances for an override may well come down to the votes of three DuPage Republicans, all of who are being challenged by women.
The mayor is hoping to enlist support from Cardinal Blase Cupich, perhaps by persuading the cardinal to go out to DuPage and lobby those three lawmakers. Cupich has already made one trip to Springfield.