Politicians react to Las Vegas massacre

President Trump leads moment of silence

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- Confronted with the horror of the Las Vegas massacre, state elected officials  responded Monday to the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. 

Moments before ordering the flags at the capitol lowered to half staff out of respect to the shooting victims, Governor Rauner tweeted, "Prayers for all in Las Vegas. Terrible tragedy. First responders have our undying gratitude." State flags will remain lowered until Thursday, October 5. 

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said in a statement, "My heart goes out to the victims of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas last night and their loved ones. Such senseless and horrifying acts of violence have no place in America or any other nation." 

Tuesday morning, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke out on the Senate floor, saying Congress is "complicit in gun violence" if it fails to pursue tougher gun laws. 

"Gun violence is a public health crisis," Durbin said. "We can't stop the shootings that already happened in Las Vegas, Chicago, Roseburg, Oregon, and across the nation. We failed to respond in time for those victims and their families." 

The tragedy in Las Vegas has rekindled a debate in Congress over gun laws, with Democrats like Hillary Clinton urging tighter restrictions on gun silencers.  

Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) was on a baseball field in Virginia in June when his colleague Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot in an assassination attempt. 

While Scalise  maintains his stance in support of gun rights, Davis avoided any mention of federal gun laws in his statement responding to the events in Las Vegas. 

“We stand with families from across our nation who are mourning the loss of nearly 60 of their loved ones, praying for the recovery of hundreds more, and thanking God that countless others are safe," Davis said in a written statement.

"I join these families in prayer and condemn this senseless act of violence. Now is a time for prayer, for mourning, for recognizing the heroic acts of first responders and others, and for uniting as Americans.”

Candidates running in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary contest also chimed in. 

Chris Kennedy and his running mate Ra Joy, both of whom have lost family members to gun violence, said in a joint statement, "Our thoughts are with the victims of last night's mass shooting and the countless families who now face a lifetime of heartache and grief. We must stop the violence that plagues our communities, our state and our country. We need leadership that brings us together to heal, instead of leadership that divides us to foster hate."

J.B. Pritzker tweeted, "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families in Las Vegas and all those affected by another horrifying act of violence." A Pritzker campaign email warned, "When guns get into the hands of the wrong people, they destroy communities and families."

State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) tweeted, "National and local leaders must have the courage to do more than remember the victims. Thoughts and prayers are not enough."

Biss added more thoughts to the Las Vegas shooting in a Twitter thread Tuesday morning, saying in part, "There's been a lot of talk about gun safety, and thank goodness. Our policies in America directly result in thousands of deaths. Enough."

Biss said, "Some combination of gun safety, mental health treatment and social norms/fabric needs to stop this."

Chicago city Alderman and Democratic primary candidate Ameya Pawar said in a tweet, "My thoughts & prayers are with victims & families in #LasVegas. We cannot accept murder as a cost to protect a constitutional right." 

Pawar followed up with a campaign email urging his supporters to call state lawmakers and ask them to pass the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, a Democrat-sponsored bill to require any sale, lease or transfer of a firearm to be regulated by a new state bureau called the Gun Dealer Licensing Board.

In its current form, the bill's definition of dealer would allow exemptions for weapons transfers among immediate family members and those who sell fewer than 10 firearms a year. A first offense would be treated as a Class A misdemeanor. A second offense would constitute a Class 4 felony with fines up to $10,000. 

Senator Biss co-sponsored the bill. The Pritzker and Kennedy campaigns say they support it.  


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