Rahm Emanuel: Obama has been "very clear" on guns


(CBS News) As the country is still reeling from the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Chicago Mayor and former chief of staff to President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, defended the president's position on guns, saying he has always been "very, very clear" on the issue.

"President Obama always stood for getting something done," Emanuel said on "CBS This Morning."

Co-host Norah O'Donnell, however, pointed out that the pro-gun control organization, the Brady Campaign, rated the president with an F grade during his first year in office for allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak. She also pointed to a book by Danny Kleinmann called Kill or Capture that quoted Emanuel as being extremely angry when Attorney General Eric Holder said that the president backed a ban on assault weapons.

"President Obama always stood for the assault weapons ban," Emanuel responded, but said the president didn't do anything about gun control because he was "dealing with a myriad of issues."

Emanuel also admitted that the politics of gun control are "very hard" because of the money and influence behind the gun rights lobby, particularly the National Rifle Association.

"That's why you have to focus on a criminal access, the type of guns and make it a law enforcement issue," Emanuel said about the possibility of passing gun control legislation through Congress.

The Chicago mayor proposed banning assault weapons, limiting the size of clips and cracking down on illegal straw purchases. His proposal is similar to what some Democrats in Congress have also proposed, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

He said he is confident that federal legislation will pass Congress because there has been a "tectonic shift in attitudes" since 27 people were killed in a killing spree in Newtown on Dec. 14.

"You can't take an event like this and say the status quo stays in place," Emanuel said.