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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 2nd, 2013
04:55 PM ET

Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejects NRA-backed proposal to train, arm school staff

An NRA-backed proposal released today included a plan to train and arm adults as a way to protect kids from shooters, a plan the Mayor of Chicago and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel rejects.

"That is not what schools are for, " said Emanuel, adding that teachers and principals should be focused on the education of children, not learning how to use guns.

"There are a whole host of things to do different as it relates to safety in schools," said Emanuel. "Training principals and teachers on the use of hand guns is not one of them."

Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and yet has a staggeringly high homicide rate, 70 homicides in the last three months. But Emanuel said not all the guns that come into the city are even purchased in Chicago, saying many are bought in Indiana or Wisconsin and brought across state lines.

"We take more guns off the street than New York or L.A.," said Emanuel. The mayor also said Chicago has seen a significant drop in the number of homicides in March.

President Obama is hitting the road tomorrow, visiting Denver and Connecticut, to push for stronger gun restrictions. Emanuel was involved in the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, and headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006. But when he was White House Chief of Staff, gun control was not a priority for the administration.

Emanuel said at the time, rescuing the auto industry, and dealing with the financial and economic crises took precedence.

"For people to ... kind of look back and say, you know, in the middle of either the financial or the auto scandal, he should have done X, there are choices you make," said Emanuel.

Looking ahead, way ahead to 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is re-emerging on the public stage, speaking at a ceremony honoring, among others, a former colleague, Melanne Verveer, who acted as Clinton's chief of staff during her years as first lady. The Chicago mayor is close to the Clintons, and says she would be a strong candidate if she decides to run for the Democratic nomination, citing Clinton's record as former first lady, secretary of state, and New York senator.

"She has a lot to offer," said Emanuel.

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