Emanuel: State, nation must ban assault weapons - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Emanuel, Quinn urge nation to ban assault weapons

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CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

Governor Pat Quinn urged the General Assembly to enact a ban on what he called military-style assault weapons next month. Quinn said that's how legislators should respond to President Obama's call for action after the killings in Connecticut.

Mayor Emanuel joined the governor's appeal. The mayor got loud applause from new Police Academy graduates. He declared banning firearms that shoot dozens of rounds without reloading would help them reduce the carnage in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods.

"And it's time this city had an assault weapons ban. It's time we as a state had an assault weapons ban," Emanuel said. "It's time we as a country had an assault weapons ban. And I hope the leadership in Congress will now have a vote of conscience."

A longtime supporter of such a ban in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn, called on the General Assembly to enact one as soon as it returns to the state capitol Jan. 3rd.

"If they had a voice today, those children from Connecticut would tell us, please act on their behalf," Quinn said. "We should ban assault weapons. They're military weapons. They're not part of hunting or anything like that."

"I don't think [a ban] would stop it at all, because the system worked in Connecticut," says Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg). "The guy tried to buy a gun legally. Could not pass a background check and then he went and stole his Mom's guns and went and did the act that was heinous."

Far southern Illinois's State Rep. Brandon Phelps is a gun rights activist who speaks for many others in the General Assembly. They argue that the very term "assault weapon" is difficult to define legally and that a ban would not prevent the episodic mass murders that have traumatized America.

Still, at least one legislator endorsed by the National Rifle Assn. told Fox 32 News that, if a sensible compromise is proposed in Springfield, she would break with the NRA.

"When you read the Constitution, I support the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I do. However, there's no reason that anyone, especially someone who's mentally unbalanced, should have the easy ability to walk in any place and completely mow down a whole school full of people," Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields).

State Sen. Hutchinson is a candidate in the special election to replace former Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr. She told FOX 32 News that she would support an assault weapons ban if proposed by President Obama. Several other candidates, including Ald. Tony Beale would, too. Former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorsen, often endorsed by the NRA declined to answer when I contacted her.

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