Jul 12, 2022 - News

Sizing up a state assault weapons ban

Illustration of the Illinois State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering attended a White House event yesterday to mark the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act on gun control.

  • But, at least publicly, Pritzker wants gun reform to go even further.

Why it matters: The governor is calling for a statewide ban on the kind of semi-automatic weapons used in last week's mass shooting in Highland Parkat the same time President Biden is pushing to reinstate the 1994 assault weapons ban.

What they're saying: "We need to ban assault weapons, not just in the state of Illinois, but nationally," Pritzker told CNN.

  • "The name of the weapon that this shooter was using is the Smith & Wesson M&P15. You know what M&P stands for? 'Military and police,' and that’s who perhaps should have these weapons. Not civilians being able to just walk in and buy one."

Context: Pritzker has been talking up gun control measures since Highland Park, but he and Democrats in the General Assembly postponed a special session this week that could have addressed the issue.

Yes, but: Some state Democrats have already started the process.

  • State Rep. Deb Conroy introduced a bill that would deny or revoke a firearm owner's identification card for anyone who attempts to cause physical self-harm or harm to others.

State of play: Democratic state Rep. Bob Morgan, who was at the Highland Park parade, told the Sun-Times that "everything has to be on the table."

  • "If anyone's going to reject any single solution, well, they're going to hear about that from me."

Between the lines: Pritzker has always supported an assault weapons ban, but the Democratic-controlled Legislature didn't appear to have the political will to pass anything in the spring session.

What's next: A rescheduled date for the special session has not been announced.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to state the kind of gun used in the mass shooting in Highland Park was a semi-automatic weapon, not an automatic weapon.


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