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Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering told lawmakers during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence Wednesday “we need to get combat weapons out of civilian hands.”
Watch the hearing in the player above.
Rotering pleaded with the committee on the need for Congress to address civilian access to military-style assault weapons following the Highland Park shooting.
“At the bottom line, we know that moving forward as a community, moving forward as a nation, we need to get combat weapons out of civilian hands,” she said.
Robert Crimo III is charged with seven counts of murder after firing off more than 70 rounds at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago.
He legally bought five weapons, including the high-powered rifle used in the shooting, despite authorities being called to his home twice in 2019 for threats of violence and suicide, police said.
“My gosh, how much more needs to happen before this obvious action is taken?” She said. “We know that there are mental health issues in other countries throughout this world. We know that there are troubled people who are inclined towards violence. What’s the differentiating factor? Combat weapons and access to civilians. There’s no place for these weapons.”
WATCH: Gun violence in America shows no sign of slowing after new spate of mass shootings
In Illinois, a state with some of the country’s toughest gun regulations and Highland Park, a city that bans semi-automatic weapons, Rotering still feared a mass shooting could happen again.
She told the committee she did not understand why gun violence has to be the new normal in the lives of so many communities in the country.
“I frankly need a better explanation to the students who have to go back to the classroom in a month to be able to say to them, don’t worry, we’ve got you,” she said. “Heaven help us all. There’s no way to live when you’re living in this kind of fear. And I am so concerned not just for my community, but for our country. This needs to stop.”
During the hearing, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas accused the Democrats of politicizing the gun issue and questioned whether Democrats were taking the steps necessary to combat gun violence “seriously.”
“The political solutions this body has put forward does not do that,” Cruz said.
The Senate Committee Chairman, Illinois Sen Dick Durbin, rebutted the comments by Cruz saying, “How could he do that? In light of what you have been through, what America has been through with guns. How could you question any good faith attempt to reduce gun violence in this country?”
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