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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blames guns — not shooter — for tragic death of female police officer

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Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot used the heartbreaking death of a Chicago police officer to advance her narrative that guns are one of the Windy City's biggest problems.

What is the background?

Police officer Ella French, 29, was tragically gunned down Saturday night, the first female police officer to be murdered in Chicago in more than 30 years.

French and her partner had pulled over a vehicle in Chicago's violent West Englewood neighborhood when police said at least two of the three vehicle occupants opened fire on the officers. Both officers were struck; French died from her injuries, while her partner was left fighting for his life.

Police arrested all three vehicle occupants and said they recovered a firearm. The identities of the suspects were not released.

What did Lightfoot say?

After declaring Sunday a "day of mourning" for Chicago and offering her condolences to French family, Lightfoot turned to politics.

"Some say we don't do enough for the police. Others say we do too much," she began. "All of this must stop."

"We have a common enemy: it's guns & the violence they bring," she added.

In a statement, Lightfoot said:

There are some who say that we do not do enough for the police and that we are handcuffing them from doing their jobs. There are others who say we do too much for the police, and then we never hold them accountable for what they do, particularly in Black and brown neighborhoods. All of this, I say, stop. Just stop. This constant strife is not what we need in this moment.
...
We have a common enemy. It's the guns and the gangs. Eradicating both is complex. But we cannot let the size of the challenge deter us. We have to continue striking hard blows every day.

Are guns Chicago's problem?

Lightfoot was sharply rebuked for repeating her narrative that guns — not violent criminals who use guns to commit crimes — are the problem plaguing Chicago.

Her narrative — which claims that lax gun laws in surrounding cities and states are to blame for Chicago's violence problem — has been repeatedly challenged by Chicago lawmakers who believe the mayor has not been tough on gangs.

Chicago Alderman Anthony Napolitano (R), for example, has called Lightfoot's narrative "pure nonsense" while highlighting Chicago's biggest problem: gangs.

"We have the strongest and the strictest gun laws in the state, if not the country," Napolitano said on Fox News last month, disputing Lightfoot's narrative.

"We have a people problem here in Chicago. I've been saying this for a long time, we have zero accountability for parents in the city of Chicago," the alderman explained. "Nobody is raising their kids anymore, the gangs are raising them."

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