gun control


Illinois residents across the state, and across party lines, largely support more gun regulations. That’s according to the results of an NPR Illinois - University of Illinois Springfield survey. We took a look at the new data and explored what might be behind the numbers.

Gun violence has touched all areas of the country, including here in Illinois. Less than a year ago, a mass shooting in Aurora, combined with high profile shootings in other states, re-opened the gun debate in Illinois.

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SPRINGFIELD - Illinois State Police officials have come up with several reforms designed to make it harder for people to keep guns after losing their right to own a firearm.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state should be able to execute those who kill police officers or commit mass shootings. The Governor proposed that and several other measures on Monday in an amendatory veto of gun legislation.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has a track record of handing the toughest topics to small bipartisan panels of legislators. These “working groups” have been tasked with solving budget and pension problems, plus criminal justice reform. And weeks after the Florida mass shooting, Rauner formed a working group on public safety. Like the others, that group meets in private.


Speaking after today's meeting, State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said it's probably meant to prevent politicians from grandstanding.

Congressmen Talk Bipartisan Issues at Bradley

Mar 29, 2018

Two Illinois Congressmen talked bi-partisan politics and policy Wednesday at Bradley University. The Institute for Principled Leadership and Dirksen Congressional Center sponsored the event. 

IL Senate GOP / YouTube

Republican State Senator Jil Tracy of Quincy believes that gun bans won’t prevent school shootings and other acts of violence.

Tracy says knives, pipe bombs, and cars are also used to cause harm, so she questions the effectiveness of what she calls gun infringement bills. Tracy believes it makes more sense to focus on improving mental health care services in schools and throughout society. Tracy also says Hollywood and video game makers must accept some responsibility for de-sensitizing people to violence.

State Rep. Jeanne Ives / Facebook

Republican candidate for Governor Jeanne Ives says she didn't like what she saw this week when students walked out their classrooms to lobby for gun control.

Ives says her campaign chairman -- the Chicago Republican Party chair -- filed a complaint with Chicago Public Schools. He alleges students were coerced into participating. Ives says students should've done it on private time...

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is not saying whether he plans to sign a bill that requires gun dealers to be licensed by the state.

Rauner says he’s been crystal clear on where he stands on gun control legislation, though he has not shown his cards for what he plans to do specifically with the gun dealer licensing bill. He could either sign it into law, or veto it.

Rauner did not indicate what he plans to do when asked today.

RAUNER: We need to have common sense bipartisan reform.

Maureen Malloy is a criminal analyst for the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Her job is to try and stop gun violence before it happens...every workday she combs a database of Concealed Carry License applications looking for red flags.

On a recent weekday afternoon she pulled up the arrest history of one Cook County applicant.

MALLOY:  “So that one is OK,. it's just driving on a suspended license. Here is UUW, unlawful use of a weapon. That’s what we are objecting to. ”

Palmetto State Armory

Illinois state lawmakers passed a series of sweeping gun-control measures yesterday in the wake of a nationwide call to action.

 But Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to take a position on many of the ideas — and declined to do so again today. Rauner hasn’t taken questions from Statehouse reporters since last months’ school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Al_HikesAZ / (CC BY-NC 2.0) / Flickr

Big changes to Illinois' gun laws don't happen often. But a growing movement across the country appears to be resonating in the state's General Assembly.

Hundreds rallied outside the statehouse calling for stricter gun control. Several in attendance had lost loved ones to gun violence. They wore pins showing the faces of the deceased.

Mary Kay Mace lost her daughter when a gunman opened fire in a Northern Illinois University classroom. The recent high school shooting in Florida happened on the 10th anniversary of her daughter's death.

The Illinois House has approved state licensing of firearms dealers and requiring that those buying assault-style weapons wait through a 72-hour "cooling off" period before taking delivery. 

Palmetto State Armory

The gun debate continues at the Illinois state capitol. 

Sen. Ira Silverstein is targeting weapons like the AR-15, a popular semiautomatic rifle used in the recent Florida school shooting.  

“I don’t know why people need these guns in the first place. They’re highly sophisticated powerful guns.”

But his plan goes further.  It classifies several guns and attachments as “assault weapons.” Todd Vandermyde, a pro-gun lobbyist, says the title is misleading.

ARTS_fox1fire / Flickr

After recent mass shootings, some Illinois lawmakers reacted by filing legislation that would tighten restrictions on guns. Fall veto session is over and gun laws remain unchanged.

The Illinois House failed to even call legislation that would allow the state to license gun dealers. Currently, gunshops in Illinois are licensed through federal laws only. The bill also requires more training for staff in recognizing suspicious purchasers. Democratic Senator Don Harmon, from Oak Park who is the sponsor, says it lacked the needed votes.


Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is backing an effort to expand background checks for firearms.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois legislators are facing increasing pressure from law enforcement to crack down on repeat gun offenders who are blamed for the surge in Chicago's violence this year. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and others have urged lawmakers for months to pass a bill that increases prison sentences for defendants who previously committed a gun-related crime.

 State Sen. Kwame Raoul is working on a proposal for next year's session that would direct judges to impose longer sentences on repeat gun offenders. But his measure would not impose a new mandatory minimum. 

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to try to curb gun violence in Chicago by punishing people convicted of firearm trafficking with long prison sentences.  

The bill the Republican governor signed Tuesday in Chicago will impose a sentence of up to 20 years for a first offense. A subsequent conviction for trafficking guns into Illinois from other states will be punishable by up to 30 years. 

Gage Skidmore

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has gained an endorsement in his bid for re-election. It could help him win crucial votes from suburban moderates. But it might also frustrate an important part of the Republican electorate.

Hillary Clinton invoked Abraham Lincoln today during a speech at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

That’s where Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” address back in 1858.

Clinton – Democrats’ presumptive nominee for president – called Republicans’ choice of Donald Trump alarming. She says it’s a threat to democracy that Lincoln’s former party is becoming the party of Trump.

Jared Smith / Communications Dir. for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives staged a Sit-In on the House floor Wed. demanding measures on gun control, more than a week after the deadliest shooting in the U.S.

Their seated protest comes days after four pieces of gun control legislation were blocked in the Senate Mon. 

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17th District) was among several Illinois representatives sitting on the carpeted chamber floor, in front of the Republican House Speaker’s empty podium.

Bustos called the proposals “common sense” measures that are long overdue.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have approved a measure designed to prevent people with mental disabilities from owning guns.  

A proposal sponsored by Democratic Sen. Julie Morrison and Rep. Michael Zalewski strengthens existing law by requiring circuit court clerks to report the names of people a judge deems mentally disabled to the Illinois State Police at least twice a year. 


The House overwhelmingly approved the plan on Tuesday. The measure heads to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner next.

President Barack Obama is continuing to make his case that more needs to be done to curb gun violence. This week he outlined a series of executive steps that includes broader background checks. Gun-friendly states like Indiana have long resisted those measures. But some gun owners there agree more could be done. Illinois Public Radio's Michael Puente reports.

One of the executive actions President Obama is pushing would tighten the so-called “gun show loophole.” That’s where private sellers are not required to conduct a background check.

     OBAMA: Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it over the internet or at a gun show.

Gun shows are big business in the Hoosier state. You can find one happening nearly every month in Northwest Indiana. Crown Point hosted one in December at the Lake County Fairgrounds. That’s where I run into Nick, a Schererville resident who declined to give his last name.

     MIKE: Do these gun shows get a bad rap? Some say it's easier to get guns here.

     NICK: Here’s why it’s easier. You have actually people from gun shops who have tables in there. They have your form that you fill out for the ATF and they call in your background check to the NCIS immediately. The only way to get it without is if it’s a private seller. That’s your loophole.

Nick isn’t sure closing that loophole will make much of a difference.

     NICKLook at the gangbangers in Chicago. Do you think they all have carry cards? No. We need more laws? No you don’t. You need to enforce the laws you have.

But those in favor of universal background checks say that law doesn’t exist.

     BUNCICH: There are individuals at these gun shows that are skirting the law. They are called private dealers.

That’s John Buncich, the sheriff of Lake County. His office is just down the road from the gun show.

     BUNCICH: And also, what we found is that in the parking lots of a lot of these gun shows, individuals will conduct illegal sales.

Law enforcement officials say many of those guns end up on the streets of Chicago and contribute to violence.

swanksalot / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago police say two teenagers were killed and a third wounded as they stood on a South Side street corner.  

Police spokeswoman Officer Michelle Tannehill says the teens were killed by shots fired Tuesday from a passing SUV. 

 Authorities say a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and a 17-year-old girl was shot in the chest. Both were pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. A 16-year-old boy was shot in the hand and hospitalized in good condition. No suspects have been arrested. 

Mike Saechang / Flickr/Creative Commons


CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois lawmaker has filed legislation aimed at keeping dangerous mentally ill people and anyone convicted of felonies or domestic violence from having guns.

Rep. Greg Harris' bill also would ban people on the FBI's terrorist watch list from getting firearms. 

The Chicago Democrat says not letting people who are severely mentally ill or on the terror watch list own weapons "just makes sense." 

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago police say a person of interest has turned himself or herself in for questioning in the fatal shooting of a 9-year-old boy on the city's South Side.

A spokesman for Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy has confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that a person of interest was being interviewed Wednesday night about the shooting death of Tyshawn Lee.

  Police say the fourth-grader was shot in the head and back Monday afternoon near his grandmother's house in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. 

Chris Christie campaiging for Rauner

Jul 25, 2014

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in Chicago Friday to campaign for his fellow Republican Bruce Rauner. Rauner is running for Illinois governor against Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.

Quinn supports ban on assault weapons

Jul 24, 2014


Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is bringing the debate over guns into his reelection campaign.  Quinn says the issue of military-style weapons represents a fundamental difference between his policies and Republican candidate Bruce Rauner.

After suffering a heart attack earlier this month, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is back at work to push his plan on reducing gun violence.  

Quinn turns focus to Daley

Jul 17, 2013

With Attorney General Lisa Madigan out of the race for Governor, incumbent Pat Quinn turned his focus to another potential opponent, Bill Daley.  As IPR’S Amanda Vinicky it's an early indication of the campaign to come.

Republicans have a somewhat crowded field of four candidates hoping to be Illinois' next Governor. For now, though, Democrats have only two: former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley and Governor Pat Quinn.

Senate committee to vote on gun control measure

May 20, 2013

An Illinois State Senate committee is expected to vote on a gun control measure today. It's scheduled to hear from some parents whose children died in December’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. IPR’S Tony Arnold reports.

Three parents from Connecticut talked Sunday in Chicago about banning high capacity magazines. A proposed bill would make magazines that hold more than 10 rounds illegal. Nicole Hockley’s 6-year-old son Dylan was killed in the Newtown school shooting.