Cook County Board incumbent would expand weapons ban

In the wake of the mass shootings in Highland Park and Uvalde, Texas, and surging gun violence in Chicago, Cook County Board member Scott Britton believes the county's ban on military-style firearms should be expanded across the state.

"One of the reasons I ran for this job was that the incumbent Republican opposed that," said Britton, a Glenview Democrat. "As long as I am the Cook County commissioner for the 14th District, there will be an assault weapons ban in Cook County."

But his Republican challenger in the Nov. 8 election, Benton Howser of Wilmette, said better enforcement of current gun laws, not passing new ones, is the answer.

"The shooter in Highland Park should never have had a gun and the Illinois State Police should never have granted him a Firearm Owners Identification (card)," Howser said. "Anyone who threatens to kill people, has the police summoned, and has a hoard of knives should not be able to get a FOID card to buy guns. We need to enforce the laws we have now and reject the notion that passing more laws will make criminals obey them."

Britton, a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee board, said he believes the county's ban should be enacted statewide, and he's advocated for a change in state law.

"Since the Highland Park shooter got his weapon in Lake County, where you can still buy assault weapons, there has to be something done in Springfield," he said.

Howser said Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx is standing in the way of enforcing the existing laws.

"When we have laws on the books that aren't being prosecuted by Kim Foxx, why are we going to even think about passing more laws?" Howser said. "Most gun crimes are committed by handguns. They're not being prosecuted."

The 14th District includes all or parts of Glenview, Wheeling, Prospect Heights, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, Inverness and Barrington.

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