Federal gun control legislation typically isn't sponsored by Republicans, but U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he doesn't have a problem going against the National Rifle Association when it comes to fighting gun trafficking.
Kirk is sponsoring a bill along with U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) which he says will cut down on guns bought legally in states with looser gun laws than Illinois ending up in the hands of gangs in this state.
"(The legislation) makes it crime to knowingly sell guns to criminals," Kirk said. "My intention is to make sure for some of these gun shops in northern Mississippi that seem to have close and continuing business relationships with criminal gangs inside Chicago, I want to make sure we can bring federal law enforcement down on them."
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A similar bill failed to pass a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate in 2013, and several Democrats who supported that version lost their bids for re-election.
Kirk's support of gun control measures is one reason his primary opponent, Oswego software consultant James Marter, decided to challenge him, but Kirk says he's not worried about being on the bad side of the NRA on this issue.
"Not at all, not at all. You want to make sure that the supply of guns is dried up to the drug gangs like the Gangster Disciples," Kirk said.
Kirk's stance on gun control was applauded by the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence, when it gave him its Abraham Lincoln Award for "his leadership in confronting gun violence." He's the first Republican U.S. Senator to receive the award.