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Chicago's top cop likens gun lobby's influence to corruption

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Chicago Police Commissioner Garry McCarthy says lawful gun owners can be a threat to public safety. (AP)

Facing a surging homicide rate and several headline-grabbing murders, Chicago’s top cop is taking aim at lobbyists who he says prevent politicians from implementing more gun control measures.

Appearing on a local Windy City Sunday morning talk show on the radio station WLSAM, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said special interests that lobby politicians to influence their opinion on gun control are the real problem.

“If there was a special interest influencing police work, I believe that would be called corruption,” McCarthy said. “So, if it has to do with donating money, versus a popular vote, I think we have a bigger problem in this country and someone has to wake up to that.”

Gun rights advocates seized on the comments, saying that McCarthy was blaming the city’s gun violence on donors and lobbyists who advocate for the Second Amendment.

“Garry McCarthy’s understanding of our Constitution barely qualifies him as a meter maid, never mind the chief of the nation’s third largest police department,” Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said.

Despite having some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, Chicago saw more than 500 homicides last year for the first time since 2008, and some 43 murders took place in January. That has prompted several pro-gun rights groups to say it proves new gun control measures aren’t the answer.

McCarthy told FoxNews.com he never advocated “getting rid of the Second Amendment.”  He said he was making the point that there is popular support for new gun control laws and that lobbyists are stopping elected officials from reflecting the will of the people.

“How is it [special interests] are controlling politicians?” he said. “How are they controlling elected officials? It’s not by popular vote.”

McCarthy in the past has blamed “government-sponsored racism” and Sarah Palin for Chicago’s gun violence. He has been outspoken in his opposition to handgun proliferation, telling a radio panel last month he equates fewer guns with improved public safety.

“When people say concealed carry, I say Trayvon Martin,” McCarthy said, referring to the Florida teen who was shot and killed last February by a neighborhood watch volunteer, sparking controversy across the country. “I say Trayvon Martin because the answer to guns is not more guns, and just simply putting guns in people’s hands is going to lead to more tragedy.”

McCarthy backs banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun, mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun and mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun.

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