SPRINGFIELD — Even before a gunman opened fire over the weekend at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killing 49 people before being fatally shot by police, efforts were underway in the Illinois General Assembly to strengthen the state’s gun laws.
The Illinois House is considering a bill that would require gun dealers to be licensed by the state and another that would create a “lethal violence order of protection,” allowing family members, roommates or law enforcement officers to seek court orders barring individuals from possessing firearms if there’s evidence showing that they pose a danger to themselves or others. Both measures are sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, who didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said mass shootings like the one in Orlando, the deadliest in modern U.S. history, underscore the need for stricter controls on the sale and possession of guns.
“We see this time and time again, primarily in Congress,” Daley said. “These things happen and everyone says thoughts and prayers, and then it leads to inaction. … Inaction is no longer an option. We have to do absolutely everything we possibly can to help save lives in our country.”
The need for stronger gun laws should already be clear in Illinois, Daley said, noting that 42 people were shot, seven of them fatally, this past weekend in Chicago.