GOP candidates in 10th House race support varying degrees of gun control

After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, all three Republican candidates for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat said they support some gun-control measures.

But two of the candidates think Congress should go much further when it comes to restricting firearm sales than the third man in the race.

Doug Bennett, Dr. Sapan Shah and Jeremy Wynes are seeking the GOP nomination in the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook and Lake counties.

The winner of the March 20 primary will face Democratic incumbent Brad Schneider in November's general election. Schneider, of Deerfield, is a vocal gun-control proponent.

Shah called gun violence "a disease that must be cured."

"The American people are demanding that Congress do something and do it now, yet all we get is grandstanding, empty platitudes and demonizing attacks," said Shah, of Libertyville. "This gridlock and dysfunction is costing actual lives."

He wants identity and background checks for would-be gun owners. He supports restricting assault weapons, silencers and bump stocks.

Congress must also take steps to ensure people on the terrorist watch list or those with mental illnesses cannot purchase firearms, Shah said. He pledged to make increasing access to mental health treatment a priority if elected.

"We need a comprehensive approach to prevent future tragedies," Shah said. "Stricter gun laws alone will not solve the problem."

Wynes, of Highland Park, has called himself a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Even so, he called for more effective background checks for people buying firearms and said lawmakers must do more to keep mentally ill people from possessing firearms.

Wynes said he supports legislation introduced after last year's mass shooting in Las Vegas that would ban the sale of bump stocks. He also backed existing laws that outlaw buying guns for people who are prohibited from possessing them or who don't want their names associated with the transactions.

Bennett, of Deerfield, said he supports the Second Amendment right to own firearms. But he said Congress "must do a better job making sure guns stay out of the hands of criminals and those vulnerable to hurting themselves or others."

To that end, Bennett said he believes would-be gun owners and people applying for concealed carry permits should be subjected to criminal background checks.

Bennett said he supports banning bump stocks but would rather have the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives review existing regulations to see if they can be classified as automatic weapons.

"A regulatory fix would be faster and more direct than writing new laws," he said.

Bennett also favors proposed federal legislation that would require states to recognize concealed carry permits of gun owners from all other states.

Critics have said such a law would allow a person denied a concealed carry permit in one state to get one from another state that would have to be honored. It also would allow people with concealed carry permits to be armed in states that ban concealed weapons.

Many law enforcement organizations and state attorneys general, including Illinois' Lisa Madigan, oppose the proposal.

But not Bennett.

"I support law-abiding, responsibly armed Americans to be able to defend themselves and their families from harm," he said. "That constitutional right should not be abridged when traveling."

Schneider voted against concealed carry reciprocity in 2017. He also favors universal background checks for would-be gun owners and banning military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, among other measures.

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