Stava-Murray, Leong both favor gun control, but issue remains contentious in 81st House race

Democratic incumbent Anne Stava-Murray and Republican challenger Paul Leong are both on record as being in favor of gun control legislation, but the issue remains a contentious one in the race for the 81st state House seat.

Stava-Murray, elected in 2018, is a co-sponsor of state legislation to ban high-powered weapons and high-capacity magazines. Paul Leong recently voted in favor of a sale ban on certain high-powered rifles in Naperville as a city councilman.

Despite their stances, each questions the other's advocacy for the constituents they'd represent in Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge.

"I'm grateful for the councilman's support of the assault weapons ban at the local level, but there's nothing to say that he's going to support a ban at a state level," Stava-Murray said. "Given what the Republican base has allowed, I'm not sure that he will end up following through on that."

Leong noted the consistency of his position, referencing a vote he made as a Naperville Unit District 203 board member against arming teachers in the classroom. Leong also questioned the dedication of Democratic state legislators such as Stava-Murray.

"They have failed to pass legislation even though they are in the supermajority," Leong said. "So if that's really your passion and if it's really your sincere desire, I think you could have done it by now."

Stava-Murray detailed her support for strengthening "red flag" laws, universal background checks, a modernization of the Firearm Owner's Identification card system and increasing focus on mental health.

"I stand on my record of standing up for victims of gun violence. and listening to victims and what their needs are," she said. "And listening to the experts of what our best next steps can be in safety practices for our state."

In terms of questions about his support of a gun ban at the state level, Leong said he'd repeat the process he used for the Naperville ordinance by researching any legislation before committing.

"In all circumstances, I try to find a compromise where I can try to represent both sides of, especially, a particularly contentious issue," he said. "I'm not going to commit to saying what I'm going to do in any specific case because the cases aren't specific."

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