Illinois Democrats respond to Texas governor's comments on Chicago

Top Illinois Democrats fired back at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday, after he pointed to Chicago as a case study in the failure of local gun control laws.

"There are more people who were shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas." Abbott declared, after claiming he was sorry to have to say it.

It triggered a quick response from Mayor Lightfoot, who tweeted:

"Gov. Abbott.. I work day and night to stop the a part of the solution or get the hell out of the way."

But at a later news conference, Lightfoot made no more mention of Abbott's views on gun policy. She did blame him for last year's storm-induced collapse of the Texas electrical grid and for allegedly creating "a debacle" at the Mexican border.

Lightfoot, who recently paid a fundraising visit to Texas, concluded by urging Texans to elect Democrat Beto O'Rourke governor this fall and not Abbott. 

"So, he's not really worth my time," she told city hall reporters.

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker fired four tweets at Abbott, including: 

"You are lying about Chicago and what actually perpetuates gun violence. The majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws."

Others weighed in. 

West suburban congressman Sean Casten (D-Illinois) would restrict access to the military-style rifle the 18-year-old Texan gunman legally obtained. 


"This young man had an AR-15 and a high-capacity magazine," Casten said. "Why do civilians need that weapon?"

As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin moved Wednesday to fill the top job at the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for the first time in seven years, Durbin urged Steve Dettelbach "to stop straw purchases, combat gun trafficking, ensure that families can send their kids to school safely and law enforcement officers can return home each day to their loving families."

North Side Congressman Mike Quigley called for eliminating loopholes that allow some to buy firearms via the internet or at gun shows without undergoing the background check others face.

"Every day … background checks stop 170 felons and domestic abusers from getting guns from licensed gun dealers in this country," Quigley said.

U.S. Senate Democrats said floor votes could come soon on two separate proposals. 

They would require background checks on would-be gun buyers on the internet and at gun shows, and the FBI would be given more time to investigate would-be gun buyers flagged as potential risks.