Illinois lawmakers call for stricter gun control during Senate committee hearing on Highland Park shooting

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) set the stage Wednesday during a Senate judicial committee hearing on the deadly Highland Park shooting.

"The attack in Highland Park was the 309th mass shooting in America this year. There have been 47 more mass shootings since the Fourth of July," Durbin said.

Durbin and others would ban the sale and manufacture of powerful, military-style firearms that have become the weapons of choice for mass killers who now strike more than once a day. 


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-IL) speaks in front of a published advertisements for assault weapons during a hearing about the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, and civilian access to military-style weapons in the Hart

The committee's ranking Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley promised to block that, instead offering a plan to instruct Americans on how to spot potential mass shooters.

"We have to educate the institutions in a person's life about these obvious signs of distress, these obvious signs that a person is headed towards mass violence. Schools in many states have implemented threat assessment models," Grassley said.

Grassley quoted a study from 2004 that claimed a 10-year-long assault weapons ban had done little or nothing to reduce killings.  '

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) challenged that assertion.

"After the assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and the ranking member quoted statistics from 2004 that says there had been no significant change as of 2004. However, since the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire, mass shootings in this country have tripled," Duckworth said.

There is nearly universal agreement on Capitol Hill that there are not enough votes in the Senate to approve a ban on civilian purchase and use of military-style weapons.