Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering again called for a ban on “weapons of war” during a Lake County Board meeting Friday as Highland Park recovers one month after the mass shooting.
Rotering began her speech by saying that the Fourth of July shooting “shook the community to its core.”
“Like so many American cities and towns, we exuberantly celebrate our patriotism and hometown pride. While we were thrilled to host this event once again, especially after missing our time together due to the pandemic, our joy was shattered by the mass shooting,” she said.
Highland Park is a city “experiencing grief” as the one-month remembrance was marked Thursday.
“Our recovery will be awkward, and it may be daunting as we approach milestones and transitions individually and as a community, including how we acknowledge day, month, and year remembrances, the changes in seasons, annual events, holidays, and more. The unknown is uncomfortable, but we know that we are not alone in our hesitation,” Rotering said.
The Highland Park mayor thanked various Lake County officials for their help in response to the incident.
“This shooting was a reminder that action against the gun violence epidemic is needed now. We are uniquely positioned to meet this moment of national urgency. I promised my community as their Mayor, as their neighbor, as a parent, as a child of Highland Park, as a human being – I will not stop trying and I ask you to join me today, right here, right now,” Rotering said.
The mayor mentioned Highland Park’s ordinance that was passed in 2013 banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
“Unfortunately, the Illinois General Assembly did not see the need to allow that opportunity to extend across the state, allowing other cities to take that Constitutional action if they chose to, or better, enact a state-wide ban. We are now pursuing those legislative initiatives, but a message needs to be sent that we need help. A single city or county cannot protect its residents because they are not islands within the state,” Rotering said.
“Combat weapons have no place on our streets. While we need a Federal Assault Weapons Ban, we as elected representatives need to take any action we can to move this effort forward. Like so many vital initiatives to protect public health and safety, we need to do what we can where we can. Our constituents deserve better,” the mayor said in her speech.
In mentioning Cook County’s ban on high-powered weapons and large-capacity magazines, Rotering called on the Lake County Board to help support state and federal legislation.
“Now is the time to act. You can take another step forward in saving lives. Add your voice and officially pass a resolution supporting both a state and federal law that will ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The debate should not be about whether we are burdening lawful gun owners with new regulations. The debate should be whether we are taking common sense steps to save even one life from gun violence,” Rotering said.
“I know that restricting access to assault weapons does not stop all gun violence but banning weapons of war is one common-sense step we can take. It is worth it even if just one life is saved,” she said.
The Fourth of July shooting in Highland Park left seven people dead and over 45 injured.
Robert Crimo III, 21, of Highwood, is charged with 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
Crimo pleaded not guilty to the charges during a Wednesday arraignment hearing.
He remains held in the Lake County Jail without bond.