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Durbin makes plea for ‘reasonable’ gun control

Updated: February 14, 2013 6:50AM

ELGIN — There is “no need” for assault weapons, neither for sport nor hunting nor self-defense.

And, outside the police and military, there is “no reason” for high-capacity magazines like the one used in the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Those are two conclusions about gun-related issues U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has reached, he said during a visit to Elgin Community College Friday. And those are two things he hopes to see in legislation when Congress takes up the gun violence debate, expected later this month.

“I hope the people of this country will support Congress as they stand up for reasonable gun control,” Durbin said.

The senator spoke briefly with reporters about gun-related issues after his roundtable discussion about his Know Before You Owe Act and Elgin Community College’s financial counseling program Friday at the community college.

“When you bring up the issue of gun violence, you obviously think of the situation at Sandy Hook Elementary and yesterday in California,” Durbin said.

“What I’ve found, though, is gun violence is a different issue in different communities.”

The senator said he also believes there should be tougher state laws regarding the possession of firearms and their misuse. And there should be “stricter penalties” for those who purchase many firearms because they legally can do so, then turn them over to others who cannot, he said.

He also said everyone should complete a background check before they can purchase a gun — 40 percent are bought at gun shows, where checks aren’t required.

Durbin said he had met earlier in the day with law enforcement officials from the Rockford area. They had discussed strategies used in those communities to reduce violent crime and prevent mass shootings and what Congress can do to help, according to the senator’s office.

That was the second in a series of listening sessions about gun-related issues he will host across the state, the office said. On Thursday, he had met with law enforcement officials from Chicago and nearby communities.

Those sessions come as Congress prepares for a debate on gun violence, expected to start later this month. The Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Durbin is a member, will play a leading role in that debate.

And, he said, he thought Congress has “a chance” of actually passing gun control legislation.

“I will support it,” he said. “I don’t have details, but what I’ve heard, I will support. I hope we can pass it.”

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