Pictured: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal comes at a time when the homicide rate in Chicago has drawn national attention because of a 31 percent increase through July 20 compared with last year.
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Quinn, a Democrat, called himself a "strong supporter" of the constitutional right to bear arms, but said in a letter to state legislators that the proliferation of military-style assault weapons undermines public safety.
"There is no place in the state of Illinois for weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range," said Quinn, who also proposed a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
States including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have similar bans in place, Quinn said. A nationwide ban on certain semiautomatic rifles expired in 2004.
Illinois, the only state without a law permitting people to carry concealed weapons, has Democratic majorities in the legislature. But Quinn's assault weapons ban proposal likely would face obstacles from legislators outside of Chicago.
The earliest the issue likely would be considered by the legislature is November, according to Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for the governor's office.
Speaking to NBC station WEEK, Republican State Senator David Luechtefeld accused the governor of trying to take political advantage of the theater shootings.
SOURCE: NBC News