Horror in Highland Park reignites Illinois’ gun debate- POLITICO

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It’s a somber Tuesday, Illinois. Watch for Vice President Kamala Harris to address yesterday’s shooting when she hits town today for the National Education Association convention.

Illinois lawmakers, angry and frustrated by the violence unleashed on a July 4th parade in Highland Park yesterday, are calling for gun-safety laws that go even further than the sweeping legislation that President Joe Biden signed just last week.

"Last month, Congress proved that bipartisan compromises on gun safety are possible. Today proved that we can’t stop there,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth said after a gunman killed six people and injured 30 more, including an 8-year-old, during a parade in a northern suburban town that’s been a part of the gun debate for nearly a decade.

The war veteran wants to “get rid” of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the kind of weapons more familiar in military combat.

It’s a goal Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering already achieved for her town. In 2013, while on the city council, Rotering helped draft an ordinance banning the possession of assault weapons — a move that was ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though well familiar with concerns about violence, especially in nearby Chicago, Monday’s shooting wasn’t about gangs or gunfire gone astray. It was a shooter standing above a crowd gathered to watch a parade. Rotering called it Highland Park’s “bloodiest day."

Until yesterday, the tony town with a large Jewish population was otherwise known for idyllic settings in John Hughes movies.

Person apprehended: Police identified Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III as a “person of interest” in the shooting. Charges have not yet been filed. Crimo, the son of a political candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Rotering in 2019, has attended rallies for Donald Trump, according to the Tribune.

Police said the shooter used a “high-powered rifle” from a rooftop above the parade. Most of the dozens injured were hit by gunfire but some were hurt in the chaos of trying to escape.

Politicos in the parade: Along with Rotering, Congressman Brad Schneider, state Rep. Bob Morgan and state Sen. Julie Morrison took part in Monday’s parade.

Running for their lives: Morrison said she and her husband, children and grandchildren “were running for safety, desperately praying that no one would die from the gunshots we heard in the distance.”

Gun violence “has been normalized,” Morrison said, adding, “no one is to blame except elected officials who have the power to put their constituents’ lives ahead of the gun lobby but fail to do so every chance they get.”

In a statement, President Joe Biden said: “Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.” He just signed gun legislation that lets states to impose red flag laws that allow for guns to be temporarily confiscated from people found by a judge to be dangerous. “There is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence," Biden said.

Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, who spoke alongside Duckworth and Rotering at a press conference after the shooting, said, “Our founding fathers carried muskets, not assault weapons. And I don’t think a single one of them would have said ‘you have a constitutional right to an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine,” he said. “I am angry. We as a nation deserve better.”

Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey, who is challenging Pritzker in November, was initially panned for saying, “Let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation.” An outspoken advocate for gun rights, he later apologized for being dismissive. In a tweet, he called for a special legislative session “to address crime on our streets. We need to demand law and order and prosecute criminals. We need more police on our streets to keep our families safe.”

Other lawmakers across the state weighed in, too. Chicago Ald. Mike Rodriguez, tweeted, “There’s only one answer to our gun pandemic and that’s fighting against NRA greed and enacting real gun reform including universal background checks and assault weapons bans.”

State Rep. Marcus Evans told Playbook he’s worried that a recent Supreme Court decision making it easier to carry a firearm in public “is moving us in the wrong direction.”

Despite the tragedy, “it’s too early to say” whether state legislators will address calls to tighten up gun laws in Illinois, a person close to leadership in the General Assembly told Playbook.

The outcry went beyond politicians. Gun Violence Prevention PAC’s Kathleen Sances called on lawmakers to “act quickly to regulate weapons of war” that make mass shootings like the one in Highland Park “more deadly.”

Even Liam Hendriks, the closer of the White Sox, called out gun laws, saying, “The access to the weaponry … totally needs to change,” via NBC Chicago.

Justice Department braces for summer of violent crime: “Top officials at the department met with prosecutors and the local police in Philadelphia in an effort to help cities prepare for a hot-weather crime wave marked by the Fourth of July,” by The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush.

MORE FROM HIGHLAND PARK:

What bystanders saw and heard: "People were climbing under benches. People were climbing on top of children. There were people yelling that they couldn’t find their parents or they couldn’t find their son,” one bystander told Daily Herald’s Steve Zalusky.

“As the band approached us, the gunshots rang out,” reports WTTW’s Jay Smith.

… “I heard 20 to 25 shots… in rapid succession,” an onlooker told the Chicago Sun-Times.

… “It was a scene from a nightmare,” another told the Tribune.

A local physician who helped the wounded saw bodies “blown up, via ABC 7

Grandfather visiting family killed in mass shooting: “He was the one who saved all of our lives.” Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón reports.

Just days ago the city honored Uvalde victims, by Tribune’s Diana Wallace and Megan Crepeau

Primary voters show they’re in an ‘anti-everything’ mood: “While Democratic-drawn district boundaries played favorably in last week’s election for many party members, high-profile losses by incumbents and well-funded candidates from both parties appeared to be fueled by an anti-establishment strain coursing through the electorate that could be amplified by November,” write Tribune’s Ray Long and Dan Petrella.

State legislative leaders saw their primary nominees fall to their parties’ flanks, notes Rich Miller in the River Cities Reader

Five of six Chicago aldermen who ran for higher office lost their primary races: A ward is “one-fiftieth of the city. Then if you’re really, really, really lucky, only about 40 percent of that base hates your guts,” former Ald. Joe Moore explains. And while that remaining 60 percent might approve of their own alderman, other voters “think as a general rule that aldermen are clowns, incompetent and corrupt.” Tribune’s A.D. Quig reports.

— IL-13: It’s Democrat Nikki Budzinski of Springfield v. Republican Regan Deering of Decatur, and no one from Champaign County, writes News-Gazette’s Tom Kacich

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: skapos@politico.com

No official public events.

At Aunt Martha’s Southeast Chicago Community Health Center at 10:30 a.m. with Congresswoman Robin Kelly and other leaders to discuss the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. … At O’Hare airport at 3 p.m. to greet Vice President Kamala Harris on the tarmac.

At Wampum Lake Forest Preserve in Thornton at 9 a.m. for the kick-off and orientation of the Forest Preserve Experience summer program for high-school students. … At O’Hare airport at 3 p.m. to greet Vice President Kamala Harris on the tarmac.

How a military base  25 miles east of St. Louis helps keep weapons flowing to Ukraine: “Thousands of logisticians are responsible for making sure that U.S. military aid reaches its destination, on planes, trains and ships,” via the New York Times.

Rivian has transformed Bloomington-Normal: “Six years ago, the downstate community took a gamble—and won big,” writes Crain’s John Pletz.

Justices urge lawmakers to allow more public access to rivers: “The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the public has no right to boat, fish or swim in small rivers that flow across private property, but two justices are urging the General Assembly to change that law,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.

Car insurers’ pandemic windfalls: Illinois insurers could have given you bigger refunds, maintained same profits, by Sun-Times’ Stephanie Zimmermann.

Legal settlement requires Chicago to offer translation services to parents of students with disabilities, by Chalkbeat’s Eileen Pomeroy

Numb to the numbers: Chicago saw nine residents killed by gunfire and another 52 wounded over the long weekend, according to the Sun-Times. “The toll was lower than last year, when 19 people were killed and more than 100 people were shot over the long Fourth of July weekend. In 2020, 79 people were shot, 15 of them fatally; in 2019, 68 people were shot, 5 of them fatally.”

The declines in shootings and homicides have been going on for four months, according to the Chicago Police Department. Citywide, there were 67 murders in June, down 21 percent from June 2021, according to data from the CPD. Police also report “double-digit declines in the number of shooting incidents, down 16.8 percent, and shooting victims, down 18 percent, year to date.”

Cautious optimism as city sees statistical decline in gun violence, even as downtown takes spotlight for crime in the first half of 2022, by Tribune’s Annie Sweeney, Paige Fry and Kinsey Crowley

He testified to the Senate about pervasive gun violence. Then his niece and friend were shot, by Tribune’s Jake Sheridan

— Speed camera follow-up: The city’s speed cameras may be yielding good results after all:  The number of tickets for speeding has decreased, meaning drivers are slowing down, and there are fewer fatalities, WBEZ explains in its updated story. How WBEZ came to correct its first report.

A reporter’s great-grandfather was poisoned in 1935. She set out to learn if it was an accident — or murder, by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz

New short film spotlights dancers in Bud Billiken Parade, by Isabella DeLeo for WBEZ

Gelato shop backed by magician Penn Jillette coming to Lincoln Square, will feature magic, juggling, ventriloquists, by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek

Lawmakers wary of controversial railroad merger: "The plan is just not viable as of right now," Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s plan to merge with the Kansas City Southern railroad. If approved, daily CP traffic would grow from three to 11 trains on average in suburbs he represents, via Daily Herald.

Election points to more power for Kaegi: “Big changes in the agency that reviews property tax assessments could please homeowners and clobber owners of office buildings, retail and other business property,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

Cook County Restorative Justice Program holds first graduation: “Those who go through community court are expected to apologize for their crimes and complete community service,” by WTTW’s Brandis Friedman and Aida Mogos.

The times are changing at Kirkland & Ellis: “The decision to drop Second Amendment cases reflects—and intensifies—a long-running cultural transformation at the Chicago-based legal giant,” by Crain’s Steven R. Strahler.

Obama Center can stay in Jackson Park, judge affirms: “Protect Our Parks’ lawsuit is again defeated in court,” by Crain’s Trina Mannino.

How Blue Moon beer founder is marketing new cannabis beverage—including a subversive Spotify playlist: “Ceria, a beer brand focused on a new kind of high, gets crafty with new ad campaign,” by Ad Age’s Jon Springer.

We asked when politics has dictated your vacation plans: Department of Planning & Development general counsel Kalpana “Kali” Plomin: “After the 2016 presidential election, I boycotted travel to red states.” … And for William Kresse, it’s the business of politics that affects his vacation plans. As an election commissioner, he says he adjusts his time away based on candidate petition periods.

How have the recent Supreme Court decisions affected your day to day life?Email skapos@politico.com

No more whispers: Recession talk surges in Washington, by POLITICO’s Victoria Guida

Despite rebukes, Trump’s legal brigade is thriving, by POLITICO’s Heidi Przybyla

Abortion fight strains Democratic alliance with Gen Z, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider

Kemp racing to stay competitive with Abrams in fundraising, by POLITICO’s Brittany Gibson

Roe decision provokes diverse and complicated reactions from Chicago-area Catholics, by Tribune’s John Keilman

Germain Castellanos is now director of development at Boys & Girls Club of Lake County. He most recently has been a teacher in Waukegan and was executive director of Beacon Place NFP.

FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Ashvin Lad for correctly answering that The Nicholas J. Melas Centennial Fountain at McClurg Court explains how the Chicago River flows to the Mississippi River to the west and to the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

TODAY’s QUESTION: What are the two major differences between the original Wrigley Field marquee and the present day one? Email skapos@politico.com

Rep. Darin LaHood, former state Rep. James Brosnahan, O’Keeffe Shahmoradi Strategies VP Mark Copeland, Thinkinc public affairs CEO Laurie Glenn, Progressive TurnOut Project’s Julio Guzman, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s Kelley Merwin, real estate agent Helen Jaeger Roth, and filmmaker Gregory Quarles.

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July 5, 2022 at 07:17AM

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