Rauner Calls For “Examination” Of Ways To Prevent Mass Shootings

February 23, 2018
Gov. Bruce Rauner talks to employees at the Litania Sports Group athletic equipment company in Champaign.

Gov. Bruce Rauner talks to employees at the Litania Sports Group athletic equipment company in Champaign.

Jim Meadows/ Illinois Public Media

One week after a mass shooting at a south Florida high school that killed 17 people, Governor Bruce Rauner says he favors a bipartisan examination of ways to prevent such shootings in Illinois.

“We’ve got to find ways to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill,” said Rauner, during a visit Friday to Champaign, where he promoted his budget and tax-cut proposals at the Litania Sports Group, an athletic equipment company.

Rauner said he was very open to a dialog on reducing gun violence. But he said Illinois already has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. And he said any changes to current gun laws were best made at the federal level, “because if one state goes in a different direction than the other, it’s very hard to enforce and really have the impact.”

Governor Rauner seemed reluctant to endorse proposals supported by President Donald Trump and others to allow teachers and other school personnel to carry concealed weapons and receive special training. But he was not ready to rule it out entirely.

“That’s a topic that should be discussed,” said Rauner. “I certainly support having armed security at schools. I think we should have a discussion about teachers themselves. I think there’s arguments pro and con. We should look forward to that discussion.”

Governor Rauner was reluctant to support new laws restricting ownership of certain types of weapons such as the AR-15 used in the February 14 shooting at Parkland, Forida. The governor said Illinois already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and that such matters are best handled at the federal level.

But Rauner says he would have signed a bill banning so-called “bump stock” attachments used to make semi-automatic rifles fire faster. One such bill failed to pass the Illinois House last fall. Rauner said he could sign such a bill, as long as it was a measure free of unrelated items.

Rauner’s comments came the same day that Florida Governor Rick Scott gave his support to raising the minimum age for purchasing rifles in his state to 21, joining several Republican lawmakers in his state. The minimum age for purchasing any firearm is already 21 in Illinois.

Illinois is one of a handful of states that requires licenses or permits plus a waiting period to buy any firearm. So-called assault-weapons, including the AR-15 used in the Parkland, Florida shooting, are banned in Cook County, which includes Chicago.

Story source: WILL