Since the mass shooting at last year’s Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois has moved swiftly on gun control measures.
The most controversial has been the ban on so-called assault weapons.
Immediately after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act in January, gun rights advocates began filing lawsuits.
The Illinois State Rifle Association challenged the ban one week after the new law went into effect, joining the Second Amendment Foundation in a lawsuit.
“Governor Pritzker signed into law a draconian bill that squashes the rights of 2.4 million-plus law-abiding firearm owners in Illinois,” ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said in a statement at the time. “The clock is ticking as the law-abiding gun owners come ever closer to being criminals. Each day our freedom is being diminished.”
Coming to the gun debate from a vastly different perspective is Lake County Board member Sara Knizhnik.
“I’ve been fortunate not to have personal experience with gun violence, but I’ve worked with literally hundreds of Illinois residents whose lives have been forever impacted by gun violence,” she said.
Knizhnik was an organizer for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and founded the north suburban chapter of the gun-control organization Moms Demand Action.
Since the mass shooting in Highland Park, Knizhnik has seen some progress in combatting gun violence. She credits expansion of the state’s firearm restraining order and clear and present danger statute, commonly called the red flag laws, with making it more difficult for dangerous people to gain access to guns.
But Knizhnik believes there’s still much work to be done.
“We need to pass a Safe Firearms Storage Law and fully fund community violence interruption programs in our most marginalized communities,” she said. “We also need to support programs that address the root causes of gun violence, programs like the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative in the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office”
Knizhnik and Pearson joined “Chicago Tonight” for a discussion about the effectiveness of Illinois’ gun control legislation.