SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — While the crowd of gun owners marching on the capitol still chanted void the FOID and criticized Governor Pritzker, the main focus was on the assault weapons ban that lawmakers passed in January.
“We want to put the face on law abiding citizens before the legislature and let them know that they are not the problem,” Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association said. “The problem are the criminals and the people who engage in criminal activities.”
Governor Pritzker avoided picking a fight when asked about the rally. Both sides are preparing for the first hearing of the federal court battle between the State Rifle Association and the state.
“If people want to gather and make their point, this is obviously the city to do it in with the legislators here in session,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Illinois) said. “So we welcome everybody all views.”
Instead, Governor Pritzker redirected the conversation to Nashville.
“We also, of course, are here, what three days after this terrible shooting in Nashville,” Pritzker said. “And, you know, I’m, we all grieve, I think, for the three adults and three very young children who died that day, but also deeply concerned about the kinds of weapons that were used in that attack one person with a couple of assault style weapons and other weapons on her. And we pray that’ll never happen in the state of Illinois, and certainly an assault weapons ban will help us to limit the possibility of that ever occur.”
The march comes just days after another school shooting, this time in Nashville. Six people were killed — 3 children and 3 adults. The shooter purchased the guns used legally.
It’s reignited the gun control debate at the national level.
“Don’t tell me we can’t do more together,” President Biden said in the aftermath of the shooting. “So I again call on congress to pass the assault weapons ban.”
Pearson said the background check laws on the books would’ve stopped the shooter in Nashville from owning guns. and he said he believes other states should institute background checks around mental health history.
But regulations from the federal level — and the ban that Illinois passed in January — are oversteps.
“It’s a state level thing,” Pearson said. “Okay. So it should be administered by the states. I am not for any more power in the hands of the federal government.”
The oral arguments for the assault weapon ban lawsuit are scheduled for April 12th. The ISRA is seeking a preliminary injunction against the law, which would put the law on hold for everyone in Illinois until the court gives its final ruling.