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Politician urges restraint on gun control
By John Patterson | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/17/2008 12:09 AM

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SPRINGFIELD -- A DeKalb-area state lawmaker is urging colleagues not to rush "knee-jerk" gun control legislation in response to the horrific shootings at NIU, saying the incident is symptomatic of far greater societal problems.

"That (gun control) doesn't seem to impact the kind of gun violence that goes on," said state Rep. Robert Pritchard, a Hinkley Republican whose district includes the Northern Illinois University campus.

"I think we need to broaden the discussion to include what other factors are weighing on these kind of deranged individuals," Pritchard said. "I think video games is a part of the problem, television, movies. Just a whole culture of violence."

He supports gun owners rights. Comments he'd made following the shooting were taken to indicate he felt the shooting might have been prevented if students and the general public were allowed to carry weapons.

He said that isn't the case.

"I'm certainly not advocating every student carry a gun," Pritchard said. "I don't think more guns is the answer to the problem we're dealing with."

Other state lawmakers admitted there might be little they can do to stop such random shooting sprees.

"When someone is intent on doing an irrational madman act sometimes it's very hard to stop them," said state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican. "The only thing I worry about, anything like this ruins young people's illusions that life is OK. It changes your perspective on everything."