Illinois 2nd Congressional District candidate Debbie Halvorson told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that she is open to a discussion on some kind of ban on high-capacity clips as she denounced a new ad funded by Independence USA PAC, a Bloomberg SuperPAC, attacking her on her gun safety stance. She called the ad an "act of desperation," by opponents who want to knock her down from her front-runner status in the race for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s old seat.
Beyond that, she says the ad isn't accurate.
Halvorson said on Tuesday that the Bloomberg ad, which knocks her for having an A rating from the NRA and for opposing a ban on high capacity clips, is basing its opinion on an old questionnaire that she filled out years ago.
Would she be open to a discussion on some kind of ban on high-capacity clips?
"Absolutely. Because that's I think where our problem lies," Halvorson told the Sun-Times. "You better believe it. We need all parties at the table. And that's why I'm the best person to send to Congress -- because I'm the only one who can talk to both sides. I'm the only one who can go back to Congress and have a talk with all parties and have a common sense conversation with how we can fix this. I take this as a sign of desperation."
While Halvorson has recently said she would not support a ban on assault weapons, she said she would be open to toughening laws against straw purchasers, changes in background checks as well as boosting accuracy of weapon-owner databases.
Cook County has had a longtime ban on assault weapons and Chicago had more than 500 murders last year, including one in which an assault weapon was used.
Polls have repeatedly put Halvorson in the lead against other top-tiered candidates in the 2nd congressional race.
Halvorson, of Crete, had a leg up on name recognition as a one-term congresswoman who made a failed run against Jackson in last year's primary as well as the benefit of having an organization in place when Jackson resigned from his job last November.
Former State Rep. Robin Kelly, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Ald. Anthony Beale and State. Sen. Napoleon Harris are among the top tier of candidates amid the 17 Democrats running in the Feb. 26th special primary. Kelly has tried to capitalize on her lifetime F rating with the NRA in the race, by calling on her opponents to release their NRA questionnaires. Hutchinson also notched an A rating from the NRA, but has not been the target of Bloomberg's ads -- as of yet. Hutchinson recently signed on to failed state legislation that would ban assault rifles.
"It was my NRA rating when I represented a rural district, with no Cook County, representing all rural, no Cook County," she said of her district before a congressional remap changed boundaries. The Second Congressional district stretches into Cook, Will and Kankakee counties. "I did have an A rating, as did Toi Hutchinson. Since then, I haven't even filled out an NRA questionnaire, I didn't now."
Halvorson said the ad was an effort to change the subject from the fact that she's leading in the polls.
"This is more going after the front-runner and trying to change the subject and the fact that
Cook County already has an assault weapons ban. If I were Toni Preckwinkle, I would be embarrassed, too. If I were Toni Preckwinkle, I would try to change the subject also. It's a shame she's trying to change the subject. I don't think it's her fault, but I do think it's hypocritical of her to try to blame me, she's the Cook County Board PResident, why aren't they talking about what they can do to reduce crime instead of saying we need a national ban on assault weapons and Debbie Halvorson isn't doing enough about it."
Preckwinkle on Monday endorsed Hutchinson in the race.