Jul 6, 2022 - Politics

Springfield on the clock for gun measures


Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives a brief statement in Highland Park on Monday. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

"There are going to be people who say that today is not the day, that now is not the time to talk about guns. I'm telling you, there is no better day and no better time than right here. And right now."
Gov. J.B. Pritzker Monday in Highland Park

Why it matters: Pritzker had previously called for a special session of the Illinois General Assembly to strengthen statewide reproductive rights in the aftermath of the Roe v. Wade reversal.

  • But now both sides of the aisle seem to want to expand the session to include gun control and anti-violence measures.

Driving the news: It's not just in Highland Park. Chicago saw 71 shot and eight killed over the Fourth of July weekend, including two mass shootings — where at least four people are injured by gunfire.

The big picture: Chicago has reported the most mass shootings in the country since 2018.

What they're saying: "I am enraged by the gun free-for-all that's killing our children, our seniors and everyone in between," Democratic State Sen. Julie Morrison said in a release. "The only way we can end this crisis is for our state and federal government to pass the laws that we’ve all been demanding. Until that happens, we are not safe anywhere."

  • "There are weapons of war on our streets that people can legally obtain and then take out dozens of people," Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said on the "Today" show Tuesday.
  • The Gun Violence Prevention PAC is calling on the legislature to "act quickly to regulate weapons of war."

State of play: One study shows that Illinois gun laws are the eighth strictest in the country.

What's more: Illinois' current concealed-carry law prohibits municipalities from enacting their own assault weapons ban. That could change.

The other side: “We must call a special session to address crime on our streets," GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey tweeted.

  • "We need to demand law and order and prosecute criminals. We need more police on our streets to keep our families safe. Public safety must be a top priority.”

Between the lines: Bailey and other GOP leaders are pushing for the Democrat-controlled chambers to fund more police, although law enforcement resources in Highland Park were likely not an issue.

  • As the general election kicks into high gear, the GOP appears to want to paint state Democrats as anti-police.

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