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Homicide rate jumps in Chicago, Daley pushes for more gun control

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley argues that more gun control will address the city's rising homicide rate. Others have proposed that the National Guard should be called in.

In this Feb. 23, file photo, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley attends a news conference in Washington to discuss the Supreme Court's gun ban case: McDonald v. Chicago. With the uptick in Chicago area homicides, Daley is calling for gun control.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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The homicide rate in Chicago has jumped in the past month, and the city is grappling with how best to respond.

At least two weekends in a row have been marred by multiple killings. For many Chicagoans, the breaking point was last Wednesday, when a 20-month-old girl was shot in the head while in a parked car on the South Side. The alleged gunman, who turned himself in, was reportedly aiming for the girl’s father.

As of last Sunday, Chicago tallied 113 homicides for 2010, compared with 101 for the same period last year.

The city’s mayor, state lawmakers, and the Chicago Police Department, among others, are weighing in on what should – and shouldn’t – be done.

On Sunday, state Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford, both Democrats, suggested that the National Guard should be dispatched to curb the recent rise in violence. They made the proposal to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D).

On Monday, both the governor and Richard M. Daley, Chicago’s mayor, dismissed the suggestion.

“The notion of trying to step in, in any way ... on the toes of people who are on the front line every day fighting crime in tough neighborhoods, I think is really not the way to go,” Governor Quinn said.

Mayor Daley argued that the National Guard does not have the appropriate resources and skills to fight street gangs.

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