Chicago shootings take center stage at Obama's town hall on gun violence

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The bloodshed on Chicago streets received national attention as President Obama took his fight for gun control to a televised town hall meeting. (WLS)

The bloodshed on Chicago streets received national attention as President Obama took his fight for gun control to a prime time televised town hall meeting Thursday night.

It comes during an especially violent start to the New Year. Already, Chicago is on pace for this month to double the number of murders from all of January last year.

One of the city's most recent shooting victims, Sakinah Reed, was looking forward to 2016, with her 18th birthday, graduation and college on the horizon. It all came to an end on a corner in Grand Crossing five days into her special year.

"I ain't going to see her graduation, prom. Nothing," said Felicia Thomas, Reed's mother.

Reed, the victim of a drive-by shooting, is one of nearly 60 people shot and 12 killed in an explosion of violence rocking Chicago since January 1.

"Last thing she said was, 'Mama, I love you, and everything's going to be all right,'" Thomas said.

Thursday night at President Obama's town hall meeting on gun violence in Virginia, Chicago was center stage.

"Every week, there's a story about a young person getting shot. Some are gang members, and its turf battles. Sometimes it's innocent victims," Obama said.

Father Michael Pfleger and relatives of Chicago shooting victims were in attendance.

The event comes on the heels of the president's executive order expanding background checks, including on those who resell guns.

"Folks will go to a gun show and purchase a whole bunch of firearms, put them in a van, drive up into Mike Pfleger's neighborhood... open up the trunk, and those things are for sale," Obama said.

But the president was challenged, including by a rape survivor.

"Why can't your administration see that these restrictions that you're putting to make it harder for me to own a gun or harder for me to take that where I need to be is actually just making my kids and I less safe?" she asked.

"There's nothing that we've proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm," Obama responded.

The town hall meeting featured guests on various sides of the gun debate. But CNN, which produced the event, said the National Rifle Association declined an invitation to be part of the broadcast.

Related Topics:
newsgun violencegun lawspresident barack obamau.s. & worldchicago shootingchicago violenceChicago - Grand Crossing
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