Durbin, Pritzker call for greater gun control after mass shootings

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) – Some of the state’s most prominent elected officials have renewed their calls for tougher gun control laws after the mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Governor JB Pritzker predicted that the mass shootings “would speed up some of these conversations.”

“Unfortunately, we have had mass shootings in Illinois,” Pritzker said. “I really want to make sure that we protect our families with proper gun safety legislation.”

“We are facing a pandemic and a pandemic of gun violence,” Senator Dick Durbin said at a separate press conference in Chicago on Friday.

“We have 350 million people in the United States and about 434 million guns,” he said. “Last year was the biggest year for gun sales with a 60% increase. Two million were sold in the first two months of this year. We are inundated with weapons in America.

“What we’re trying to focus on is something that 90% of Americans agree on,” Durbin said. “We must do everything in our power to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and the mentally unstable. It could make life safer. 60% of gun owners think it’s a good idea.

Mass shootings often attract the most attention, but are not the main source of gun violence. In 2019, one in 400 gun deaths was the result of a mass shooting. More than half of gun deaths in the country are due to suicides.

The New York Times reports that the death toll from guns is approaching the death toll from pancreatic cancer. When gun violence is counted as a single category that includes homicides, suicides, and accidents, it kills approximately 40,000 Americans per year.

State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has proposed background checks and expanded fingerprint requirements for ID card holders of gun owners in Illinois.

“We’ve kind of figured out how to handle this pandemic over the past 12 months and make sure people prevent the COVID contraction; yet we have yet to take action on how we can deal with mass tragedies, ”Villivalam said on Capitol Connection.

Vilivalam cited research from Johns Hopkins University and said, “If we implement fingerprinting, if we do background checks, if we make sure that there is a strong licensing system in it. our state, and that the Illinois State Police have the resources they need to remove illegal guns from people who shouldn’t have them, we will reduce gun deaths and gun violence by 40% .

“We want to make sure that if you want to have a FOID card in the state of Illinois, if we are able to get your fingerprint, we can identify who you are and if you should have a gun.” he said. “We do not in any way try to take away rights from responsible gun owners.”

State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) objected to the fingerprinting requirement and asked if the Pritzker administration is deliberately dragging its feet in processing FOID renewals.

“Who’s going to check these fingerprints,” Bryant asked. “How long are they going to stay on file? “

She asked, “Why would you need a fingerprint to get the gun?” “

“For those who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, exercising their Second Amendment right, they are fingerprinted as if they were a criminal,” she said. “No, that’s not fair.”

“I don’t support the FOID card in the first place,” said Bryant.

She criticized the Pritzker administration and the Illinois State Police for the accumulation of unprocessed FOID card renewal requests which she said prevent gun owners from being able to legally purchase ammunition. .

“18 months later, they still haven’t received their FOID card, even though the state police took their check and cashed their check,” she said.

“I would challenge the governor at this point,” said Bryant. “No help has been given to the state police to reduce the backlog of people who have a constitutional second amendment right to own these guns, who have FOID cards, who go through the legal process in progress, and they wait until 18 months to get these FOID cards.

“I would wonder whether or not it is intentional to continue the backlog,” said Bryant.


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