Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting flak from the powerful gun lobby for her proposal to slap a "violence tax" on guns and bullets, but she's got a friend in Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"Anything we can do to put more police on the street and get kids, guns and drugs off the street is directionally something I have long fought for in my years in public service," the mayor said.
As a young White House staffer during the 1990's, Emanuel noted that he helped then-President Bill Clinton pass the Brady Bill, which included a criminal background check and a five-day waiting period before the purchase of handguns.
The mayor further noted that he helped Clinton pass a 1994 crime bill and a ban on assault weapons that has since been lifted.
"One of the first bills I introduced as a congressman was the expansion of the Brady bill to juveniles who have a criminal record," the mayor said.
"I will do anything in support of getting guns off our streets."
The violence tax was first disclosed by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Preckwinkle defended it under fire by arguing that the county has to try to find ways to defray the costs the county absorbs because of gun violence - whether it's victims in the county-run health and hospital system or suspects in the county jail awaiting trial.
"Cook County suffers from systemic gun violence," she told reporters at a press briefing Tuesday. "The wide availability of ammunition exacerbates the problem."
Preckwinkle shrugged off the idea that law-abiding citizens might be the ones footing the bill.
"Gun violence is a real problem for us - it's a problem for us in the criminal justice system, and it's a problem for us in our healthcare system and I make no apologies for" that, she said.
While the gun lobby shot down the idea of a special tax on guns and ammunition, the plan has drawn mixed reviews from county commissioners.
"It isn't the law-abiding gun owner that's going out in to the streets of Chicago and killing these innocent children. It's mostly illegal gun owners. It will be the legal gun owners footing the bill for this violence tax," said suburban Republican Timothy Schneider.