Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Proposes Assault Weapons Ban

In the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado shootings, Illinois governor Pat Quinn has proposed a state ban on assault weapons, facing decades of fervent opposition in the process.

The July 20th Colorado shooting, where grad school dropout James Holmes reportedly shot and killed 12 people, inspired Illinois Democratic governor Pat Quinn to renew his fight against assault weapons, proposing a state ban on Tuesday, reports Reuters. Though Quinn calls himself a “strong supporter” of the constitutional right to bear arms, he argued that the availability of military-style assault rifles undermines the public’s safety.

“There is no place in the state of Illinois for weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range,” said Quinn, whose proposed ban also includes sanctions against high-capacity magazines. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have similar bans in place, and a nationwide ban on such weapons expired in 2004.

Quinn’s appeal for an assault weapons ban bore direct references to the tragic Colorado shooting. “We should show the nation that when something really bad happens, as happened in Aurora, Colo., a horrific massacre, that we don’t stand idly by,” Quinn said. “We take action.” He also noted that his own emotional response stemmed from the story of victim John Larimer, a Crystal Lake native who shielded his girlfriend from bullets, reports the Chicago Tribune.

“He is the exact same age as my youngest son,” said Quinn, who attended Larimer’s wake. “He lost his life to an assault weapon with these deadly ammunition magazines carrying round after round that was poured into that movie theater.”

Illinois already boasts some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, being the only state of the 50 that does not allow conceal and carry permits, and requiring a firearm owners identification card to purchase guns of any kind. The state also tends to rank relatively high in violent crimes, according to official Illinois crime rankings.

Do you think that there should be a renewed national effort to ban assault weapons? Is Pat Quinn on an early trend here?