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Local Reaction to President's Gun Control Proposals
A top Democrat at the Illinois Capitol says lawmakers should continue to pursue gun control measures at the state level.
Illinois' House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, says legislators shouldn't wait to see how Congress acts on the president's proposal.
State Senator Antonio Munoz sponsored a ban on assault weapons that didn't end up getting called for a vote during the final days of the legislative session last week.
He's already re-filed his proposal for the new General Assembly to consider.
Munoz admits it will be an uphill battle. But, he says both he and the president have to start somewhere.
The days don't get any easier for Edwin Jones two weeks after a tragic start to the new year.
"It hurts that I have to wake up everyday to know my son is not here anymore," Jones said. "It's hard on me, it's hard on his daughter."
His son, DeShawn Jones was shot to death on this front porch in Springfield during the early morning hours of New Year's Day.
Police have arrested and charged the man they believe is responsible for the murder.
"He was in the process of making a transition in life, making a lot of changes in his life," Jones said.
The loss of his son to gun violence gives Jones a unique perspective on the issue at the forefront of a national discussion.
He says a federal or state ban on assault weapons is a step in the right direction.
"Whatever he needs to cut down or stop the violence, I'm for," Jones said.
But, gun control is a divisive issue driving heated debate.
Republican State Representative Bill Mitchell says the President's proposal completely disregards the Second Amendment.
"We know what happened in Connecticut was horrible, that kid was crazy," Mitchell said. "So what's the President's reaction? He has deficits the debt to deal with. He is doing this assault weapons ban. At least at the state level we are prepared to respect the Second Amendment. We're going to fight for it."
Mitchell thinks the executive orders exceed the President's authority.
He also believes there are more important issues to tackle at the Statehouse.
"The governor has an awful lot on his desk and this is in my opinion is diversionary to what we need to address - that is - the fiscal problems in the State of Illinois," Mitchell said.
Mitchell points out that the state also has to write a concealed carry law, by court order.
Senator Munoz's new bill includes the ban on assault weapons. He says his bill now also includes language from an earlier plan to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Democrats in the General Assembly say resistance from gun-rights advocates could hold up efforts to pass the restrictions.
Governor Pat Quinn, also a Democrat, didn't speak specifically to state efforts, but in a statement Wednesday the following. "We all have a responsibility to ensure that military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines do not fall into the wrong hands."