Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he welcomes President Obama’s coming to Chicago this week, acknowledging that the visit will spotlight the city's crime problems but could also lead to a national conversation on urban gun violence, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Emanuel proposed boosting the mandatory minimum sentence for felony gun possession from one to three years and imposing “truth in sentencing” to require inmates to serve 85 percent of their gun possession sentences — up from 50 percent.
The proposals, endorsed by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, would be part of a larger gun control package the mayor plans to introduce in the General Assembly. Emanuel is not afraid the president's visit will focus too much attention on Chicago's violence and make the city less attractive to families and businesses. “The issue of urban gun violence is not limited to Chicago,” the mayor said. “The worst thing would be to say, 'Let's not discuss this,' ” he added. Emanuel said a discussion about preventing Chicago's gun violence should include ways to strengthen gun laws and their enforcement as well as ways to mentor the young inner-city men who are the most likely targets of shootings.