“Kirk’s take is really interesting, no one else is talking about that,” says Wayne Steger, a political scientist at DePaul University in Chicago. “Gun running across state borders and selling to unlicensed and unregistered people is the big problem.”
According to the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which researches gun violence and crime policy, the majority of guns confiscated or used in crimes in Chicago were purchased outside the city limits. The top source states for firearms recovered in Chicago include Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas. These states either have weaker gun laws or are historically connected to Chicago over generations, with families residing in both areas.
Kirk is not against the gun-control measures Mr. Obama is touting. In fact, he is the only Republican in the Senate who is on record saying he supports a ban on assault weapons. While a member of the House in 2008, he introduced legislation that would have renewed the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004, saying the weaponry ends up in the hands of gangs and exposes law-enforcement officers to dangers that even body armor can’t prevent.
The legislation eventually failed, but he told the the Chicago Sun-Times in January that he still supported an assault-weapons ban.
His new bill is attempting to address a different facet of gun violence. On Wednesday, Kirk said he wants to name the bill after Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old girl who participated in Obama's inauguration and then was gunned down in Kenwood, a South Side Chicago neighborhood, three weeks ago.