Almost as soon as news began to arrive Monday of a mass shooting at a July 4 parade in Chicago’s northern suburbs, pained politicians began to express dread and frustration at the latest in a string of bloody American shootings.
“Only in America do families have to flee from gunfire and get shot at a parade,” tweeted Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.), whose district begins about 10 miles from the site of the shooting in Highland Park, Ill. “We CANNOT let gun violence continue another day.”
President Biden issued a statement saying that he was “shocked by the senseless gun violence” that had marred Independence Day, and noting that he was following the situation closely.
Mayor Adams responded to the shooting by offering prayers for Highland Park, but added in a tweet that the “time for real action on gun safety is NOW.”
“On this day dedicated to freedom, we’re given a tragic reminder that our right to life and liberty will be at risk so long as we continue to allow illegal guns and violent gunmen to go unchecked,” Adams tweeted.
And Gov. Hochul said on Twitter that “Highland Park is in our hearts today.”
Highland Park is an affluent suburb nestled along Lake Michigan about 25 miles north of downtown Chicago. The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), whose district includes Highland Park, said he was at the parade at the time of shooting, but was safe.
“My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community; and my commitment to do everything I can to make our children, our towns, our nation safer,” he tweeted. “Enough is enough!”
Lawmakers in Washington passed narrow legislation last month to expand background checks for buyers younger than 21, responding to the harrowing racist shooting that left 10 dead in Buffalo and the slaying of 19 schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas.
But Republicans have balked at efforts to ban assault-style rifles. The U.S. had an assault weapons ban beginning in 1994, but it expired after a decade.
It was not immediately clear what weapon was used in the Highland Park shooting, but law enforcement said a “high-powered rifle” was recovered.
A witness described a “rapid succession” of shots, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Biden, who signed last month’s gun legislation, said in his statement on Monday that the law will “save lives.”
“But there is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence,” Biden said in the statement.
In New York City, Comptroller Brad Lander, a Park Slope progressive, tweeted that the freedom America’s founders sought was not the “freedom to flee a mass shooter.”
“We will wrest this democracy back from a mania of guns,” wrote Lander, “or we will betray it.”