CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn, joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, today visited the site a recent fatal shooting in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood to urge legislators to stand with families and communities and take action against gun violence. The Governor pushed passage of the Illinois Public Safety Act, legislation that would ban the sale or delivery of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois and require background checks for the transfer of guns. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to make Illinois neighborhoods safer.
“The recent epidemic of violence in Chicago is unacceptable and we must join together to fight back,” Governor Quinn said. “Public safety is government's foremost mission and Illinois should not wait any longer to act. There are too many victims of a war being waged on our streets, a war fueled in part by the availability of deadly, military-style assault weapons that have no purpose other than killing.
“We must work together to protect the lives of those we love and stop what's happening in our communities. I urge the Illinois General Assembly to take a stand and pass this legislation that will save lives and protect communities."
The Governor today was joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly who recently released the Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America, the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation’s gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis.
Senate Bill 3659 – the Illinois Public Safety Act – was introduced during the recent spring Legislative session by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and supported by Governor Quinn. It bans the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of assault weapons, large capacity ammunition feeding devices such as magazines or clips, and .50 caliber rifles and cartridges in Illinois. Valid Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) holders who possess any of these devices at the time the law is enacted would be allowed to keep them, but could not transfer or sell them except to a family member. The legislation also requires background checks for the transfer of firearms except to a family member or at a gun show.
A review of mass shootings between January 2009 and January 2013 by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that incidents where assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines were used resulted in 135% more people shot and 57% more killed, compared to other mass shootings.
“This is a common-sense solution to preventing gun violence and keeping our children and families safe,” Senator Kotowski said. “This measure will protect our communities by ensuring that military-style assault weapons are off the streets and out of hands of criminals.”
Governor Quinn has long fought to protect Illinois neighborhoods from gun violence. He signed legislation in 2013 that increases penalties on gun owners who don’t report the theft or loss of a weapon. This major legislation was a key priority in the Governor’s 2013 State of the State address. He also signed a law in 2011 to increase penalties for convicted felons who are found carrying guns – this helps fight gun crime in Illinois by ensuring that felons who are convicted of new weapons offenses will be sent to prison and not allowed to walk the streets of Illinois. Governor Quinn also signed a law in 2009 establishing mandatory prison time for gang members convicted of possessing a loaded gun in a public area.
Seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning assault weapons: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. In addition, Minnesota and Virginia regulate assault weapons.