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GOP Candidates for Illinois Governor Offer No Substantive Solutions for Gun Violence Epidemic at First Debates

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Just hours after the horrific mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that left 21 dead, the issue of gun violence dominated the Illinois GOP gubernatorial debates. But the six men sparring for the Republican nomination offered no substantive policy solutions for a crisis that shakes the nation with each new tragedy.

When asked about gun violence, Darren Bailey called Chicago “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole,” saying: “much of these issues… have more to do with mental health than anything else.”

Richard Irvin offered vague comments, calling on the community to “support our police…and support our neighbors and our families and our friends and these schoolchildren.” Later, he added: “As governor, I will take a strong stance to ensure that we do what’s necessary to protect ourselves” — without ever stating what that strong stance would be. Irvin has walked back his previous support of commonsense policies that he said “could have prevented” the Henry Pratt shooting.

Paul Schimpf said no additional gun laws are needed, instead adding: “we need to get rid of the FOID.”

Max Solomon said the solution to incidents of gun violence in schools like this one is to “make sure that every school in the state of Illinois has armed security guards.”

Besides looking at “mental health services,” Jesse Sullivan said, “we also have to look at faith and fatherhood.”

Gary Rabine believes stricter gun laws aren’t a solution, saying: “still, bad people are going to get guns.”

“It is shameful that — in the wake of this horrific tragedy — these candidates could not offer substantive policy solutions to address the gun violence epidemic that plagues our nation,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “Illinoisans need a leader who will take action to protect our children, our families, and our communities.”