Moylan, Lupo differ on curbing gun violence, possible ban on certain weapons
In the wake of this summer's mass shooting in downtown Highland Park, Democratic state Rep. Martin Moylan of Des Plaines and his Republican challenger, Michael M. Lupo of Park Ridge, shared differing views on what the state might be able to do to curb gun violence, including whether a ban on assault weapons should be a part of a solution.
Both candidates for the 55th District state House seat spoke before a representative of the Daily Herald Editorial Board in separate interviews.
Lupo said Illinois and Chicago already have some of the nation's strictest gun laws. But stepped-up scrutiny of the validity status of firearm owners' ID cards could be one way to make improvements, he added.
"There's over 10,000 people right now who have gotten their FOID cards revoked, failed to renew them or something of that nature that are currently in possession of firearms, so that's a problem that needs to be addressed immediately," Lupo said. "And that's a bipartisan issue that we need to get control of. Now, we did just go through the coronavirus pandemic so we understand that there's not as many people out there to enforce these laws as there was before, but that's not an excuse."
But getting illegally owned guns off the streets is only part of the solution to curbing their violent use, Lupo added.
"As far as the mass shootings, I believe we need to come up with a comprehensive plan," he said. "Maybe with a committee or a council in Springfield -- bipartisan with some mental health experts as well. And to be honest with you, I wouldn't be opposed to temporarily halting the sale of high-powered and high-capacity rifles while that's getting done. ... It's something that we need to take seriously and we need to take the mental health aspects seriously as well."
Moylan said he supports the proposed statewide ban on assault weapons.
"That's a first step," he said. "But there's more than just the ban on weapons. Individuals like this person (in Highland Park) will find some type of device to inflict harm on as many people as possible. So besides the ban on assault rifles, we have to get back to the mental health issue."
Moylan said some of the violent video games that teens play probably can desensitize them to the consequences of using weapons on real people, particularly if they're living largely isolated lives well into adulthood.
"It's a problem, and we have to have the mental health officials or personnel try to interdict and work with some of these children that seem addicted," he said. "But we also have to have the parents make us aware if there's a problem. Now this young individual, like other individuals, had a history of causing problems and the parents can't hide that. Some of the parents in these mass shootings deserve responsibility also for the actions of their children."
Moylan said there's some precedent for what he's suggesting in the laws that outline parental responsibility for teen drinking parties hosted at their homes and similar situations.
The 55th District includes all or parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Park Ridge and the far Northwest side of Chicago.