Mayor Richard M. Daley said Friday that he regrets his choice of words when he suggested he'd stick a rifle with a bayonet up a reporter's "butt," but he said he was trying to "shock" the media into exposing gun manufacturers who flood the streets with firearms.
"I want to shock you, maybe scare you, to realize this is serious," he said.
Asked if he was sorry for how he went about illustrating his point, Daley said, "Sure I'll be sorry... I'm not going to sing the song 'I'm Sorry' now, but sure, you can write it. But I hope I shocked you that you can write about now the gun manufacturers."
The mayor said the focus should not be on his remarks, but about the impact of gun violence in urban America.
The mayor was talking about his controversial remarks on Thursday during a news conference on the city's handgun ban and what the city plans to do if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the ban this summer.
At that news conference, Chicago Reader reporter Mick Dumke asked Daley if the ban has been effective, given how many people are shot in the city every year. The mayor responded by picking up a rifle with a bayonet from among several seized guns that Chicago police had put on display.
"It's been very effective," Daley said as he held the rifle. "If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know."
Daley said without the gun ban, people would be in danger from people with weapons such as the one he picked up. But since such weapons can be confiscated, lives have been saved, he said.
On Friday, Daley said he didn't go into Thursday's news conference planning to shock reporters, but believed his outburst would spur more discussion about gun violence.
Asked what prompted him to pick up the rifle in the first place, Daley said, "It was a gun with a bayonet. … just think, a gun with a bayonet. What is a bayonet used for?"
When a reporter pointed out bayonets are not traditionally used for sticking up someone's butt, Daley said, "you stick it everyplace."
Daley added that he wants the news media to report more stories about gun manufacturers that are filling the streets with firearms.
"Why is it that the media is silent as to who the gun manufacturers are?" he said.
"I hope we don't just become complacent," Daley said of gun violence. "We should be outraged. We should be shocked."
"I want you to be as passionate as I am," he added.
Daley said at the Thursday event that he is hopeful that the city will prevail in the pending case McDonald v. Chicago, which challenges the city's 28-year-old handgun ban on Second Amendment grounds. But if the city does not prevail, the mayor is calling for new ordinances to regulate guns.
Daley discussed requiring gun owners to buy insurance or take firearms training classes, as well as "look for new ways to challenge gun manufacturers."
"You have to go through driver's ed, you have to get a license, you have to pass a test for drivers, but you really don't have to do anything to own a gun," Daley said.
Daley lauded Illinois lawmakers for passing several "common-sense gun laws" recently. The new laws require mandatory minimum jail time for gang members caught with illegal guns, and increase penalties for shooting on or near school grounds or public transportation. A new interstate gun trafficking task force has also been established.
He added that fighting the gun industry is often futile, because of its immunity to civil litigation.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in March in McDonald v. Chicago, which challenges handgun bans in the city of Chicago and in Oak Park. The suit also asks the high court to extend to state and local jurisdictions the sweep of its 2008 decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, which struck down a gun ban in the federal enclave of Washington, D.C.
In Heller v. D.C., the court ruled that the Second Amendment gives individuals a right to possess guns for self-defense and other purposes, but presently, that decision only applied to federal laws, such as those of Washington, D.C. But the court has ruled that most of the rest of the Bill of Rights applies to state and local governments.
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