July 14, 2022

One-on-One with Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Guns, Abortion Rights

Source: WTTW Chicago


U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) renewed calls for an assault weapons ban after meeting with Highland Park residents following the July Fourth mass shooting.

Duckworth, alongside Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) met with residents and members of March Fourth, a gun safety advocacy group, Tuesday to hear more about their experiences as well as discuss policy solutions.

“We cried together and we shared our grief, but also our anger,” Duckworth said. “The moms who initiated the meetings and the efforts made it clear that they want an assault weapons ban and I agree with them.”

However, Duckworth, a co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, doesn’t see a path forward for gun safety legislation yet. She noted it took nearly three decades to pass the most significant update to the nation’s gun law. That update, The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, was signed into law last month. Some of the provisions include funding to help states implement red flag laws to remove firearms from people deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others; and to enhance background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21.

“It was a piece of gun control legislation, but it was a very small first step,” Duckworth said.

Another tough sell for Congress passing legislation on abortion rights. Duckworth said Democrats will push as hard as they can on Republicans to move legislation forward.

What Duckworth would like to see, especially in states like Illinois which are surrounded by states that have outlawed abortion, is an increase in funding. That could look like allocating more money through Medicaid for people coming to Illinois for care or working with insurance companies to ensure access to care is covered, she added.

“I would like to see significantly more dollars made available to states that are basically providing safety and security for women who are looking to exercise their reproductive choice,” Duckworth said.

Congress is reportedly planning to hold votes this week on bills aimed to protect a person’s ability to cross state lines to seek reproductive care. The bills in the House and Senate aim to prevent states that may try to stop residents from obtaining an abortion in other states. They would protect people providing and seeking abortions, as well as people providing transportation services from punishment from states. 

By:  Blair Paddock