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Editorial: New General Assembly should target guns

Mayor Emanuel Garry McCarthy address reporters Wednesday June 8 2011 City Hall. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

Mayor Emanuel and Garry McCarthy address reporters, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at City Hall. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 10, 2013 5:58PM

Around Illinois and the country, people are stepping up efforts to do something about gun violence. It’s too bad the Illinois Legislature wrapped up its lame-duck session Tuesday without doing anything significant to join them.

On Tuesday, Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear a case on the state’s concealed carry ban, which a three-judge panel struck down last month. Madigan says that went “beyond what the U.S. Supreme Court has held” and conflicted with other federal court rulings.

The two prevailing judges claimed Illinois didn’t persuasively argue the ban was vital to public safety. The dissenting judge sensibly pointed out firearms in public increase everyone’s risk of death or injury.

Elsewhere around the country, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband on Tuesday launched a political action committee to reduce gun violence. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Tuesday he will introduce a bill for instant background checks in ammunition sales. Seattle and other locales announced gun buybacks. In Washington and six cities affected by mass shootings, the Mayors Against Illegal Guns started running ads Tuesday to push for tougher gun laws.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy haven’t fared well in asking the Legislature for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Legislation for such a ban stalled in the lame-duck session. At a Tuesday news conference to announce a beefed-up community policing program, McCarthy said police have already confiscated 180 guns since Jan. 1.

When the new General Assembly is seated Wednesday, it should join those working to stop gun violence.

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