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Article updated: 2/19/2013 5:19 PM

Bloomberg defends anti-gun ads in congressional race


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending his SuperPAC's anti-gun ads in the Chicago-area district of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

Bloomberg says the country needs sensible guns laws. His Independence USA PAC has run commercials targeting Democratic candidate Debbie Halvorson for past high ratings from the National Rifle Association. The former congresswoman is running to replace Jackson who resigned in November, and she opposes an assault weapons ban. She says Bloomberg is trying to buy an election and colluding with another Democratic front-runner, former state Rep. Robin Kelly. Kelly wants a ban.

Bloomberg told reporters Tuesday that illegal handguns are a "scourge" on society.

Guns are a top issue in Illinois' 2nd District. It's largely Democratic, so the winner of next week's primary will likely head to Washington.

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