County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot

SHARE County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot

Cook County voters will get to say in November whether they believe the state should enact tougher gun laws, including an outright ban on the sale and transfer of assault weapons.

The non-binding referendum is one of two measures the Cook County Board voted Wednesday to place on the upcoming ballot.

Democratic board members unanimously supported the gun controlmeasure, which asks if the state should “require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?”

Gov. Pat Quinn also has called for a similar law, though legislation has failed to move forward in Springfield. The board’s approval of the ballot question comes as Quinn’s campaign has tried to hit Republican rivalBruce Rauner on the issue. Recently,Quinn’s campaign released a new online video juxtaposingTV news reports onChicago gun violence with footage of Rauner stating he believes gun owners should be free to use assault weaponsfor “target practice… on their property as they choose fit.”

Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the ballot measure wasa continuation of the board’s attempt to reducegun violence –not part of a coordinated effort.

But just hours after the measure was approved, Quinn’s office sent out a glowing release praising the board.

“I applaud the Cook County Board for adding these important referendums. With proper gun control regulations and investment in mental health care we can help save lives and improve safety within our communities.”

Republicans on the board, including state GOP chairman Com. Tim Schneider, did not oppose the gun control measure. Instead, they requested to be marked as “present” during the vote.

The other advisory referendum, sent to the ballot on a unanimous vote, was a measure calling for increased state mental health funding. The state has cut $187 million in funding – a move that has disproportionately affected the poor, commissioners said.

In Chicago alone, six state-run mental health centers have been shuttered, a county memo states.

For months, Sheriff Tom Dart has publicized the number of mentally ill inmates, who he says wind up in Cook County jail instead of mental health facilities.

Voters in November will be asked: “Shall the General Assembly of the State of Illinois appropriate additional funds to provide necessary mental health services for the people of the State of Illinois?

Commissioner Larry Suffredin said approval of the measure could “give backbone to the members of the General Assembly” next time matters of mental health funding come up.

The Latest
“Right here and right now, we take this day back,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said during the ceremony at police headquarters. “We honor Officer French, who lived, and lift up the lives she touched.”
Before retiring from the road, veteran pop star and his band recap decades of hits.
The estimated $740 billion package heads next to the House, where lawmakers are poised to deliver on Biden’s priorities.
Haymarket Center will inaugurate the first in a series of three-day retreats to support law enforcement professionals who have experienced critical incident-related trauma.
Only one team in the NFL blitzed less often than the Bears in every one of the previous four seasons: Matt Eberflus’ Colts. While the head coach won’t be calling the Bears’ defense, you can bet new Bears coordinator Alan Williams, who followed him from Indianapolis, is strategically similar to his boss.