Highland Park mayor, Gov. Pritzker call for federal assault weapons ban

As the Highland Park community continues to mourn the lives lost one week ago on the Fourth of July, the city’s mayor and Governor J.B. Pritzker took the tragedy to the White House.

On Monday, President Joe Biden held an event on the South Lawn where he touted the Safer Communities Act.

Hundreds of lawmakers, state, and local officials were in attendance, including Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Governor Pritzker.

There, they had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the president about our nation's gun laws.

The Safer Communities Act – a gun safety measure – was signed into law about two weeks ago. While Rotering said she believes it is a first step, she says lawmakers need to do more.


"As the Mayor of Highland Park, I am horrified that our town, like so many others, has been added to an ongoing list – a list that should not even exist. We need a Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Combat weapons have no place on our streets," Rotering said in a statement released Monday.

Highlighted by the president Monday morning, the Safer Communities Act aims to toughen background checks for gun buyers who are under 21, including reviewing their mental health records.

"How many more mass shootings do we have to see where a shooter is 17, 18 years old and able to get his hands on a weapon and go on a killing spree?" said President Biden.

The legislation will also help states put in place red flag laws that make it simpler for members of law enforcement to take weapons away from people believed to be dangerous.

"So the parent, a teacher, a counselor can flag for the court that a child is a danger to themselves and to others," said the president.

Just one week after her city was devastated by a mass shooting, Mayor Rotering is calling on Congress to bring back the nationwide Assault Weapons Ban.

"We in Highland Park banned assault rifles nine years ago, but we need to rest of the country to catch up with us. The fact that guns in these shootings are legally obtained says that these laws need to be changed," said Rotering.

Governor Pritzker is also demanding stricter gun laws.

"These are combat weapons. These are weapons of war. They should not be on the streets," said Governor Pritzker.

During his remarks on Monday, President Biden wore a ‘Highland Park Strong’ ribbon. That message can also be found throughout Highland Park, including written in chalk on sidewalks and painted on storefront windows.