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Raoul touts his commitment to reducing violent crime while decrying ‘fake news’ on SAFE-T Act

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022  |  Article  |  Ben Szalinski

Attorney General Kwame Raoul speaks at a news conference at Bright Star Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood Tuesday

As crime remains a top issue this campaign season, Attorney General Kwame Raoul is touting his record on crime despite facing attacks from his Republican opponent Tom DeVore.

 

Raoul, along with Democratic Supreme Court candidates Liz Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien, were endorsed by the Gun Violence Prevention political action committee Tuesday. Raoul focused on efforts his office has made to reduce gun violence since he took office in early 2019 and said he remains focused on taking guns off the streets. 

 

“The energy that we put forward during these types of seasons towards individuals being elected to office, if we put that same energy into good policy, policies that keep our communities and our children safe, we will do that,” Raoul said.  

 

Raoul noted his office has filed lawsuits against gun manufactures, runs a data portal to track the flow of illegal guns into Illinois, provides resources to support victims of gun violence and supported legislation to ban ghost guns.  

 

Raoul also said he supports banning assault weapons.  

 

“I’m not one who is anti-second amendment. I’m not anti-gun possession,” Raoul said.  

 

“There’s certain weapons that are weapons of war that can do a lot of damage not only to the targets of the shooter but to the unintended people,” Raoul said, adding there are also illegal tools that make handguns automatic. 

 

Raoul said reducing gun violence remains his top priority as he fights for a second term. He also fended off accusations from DeVore that his office has not been prosecuting murder cases.

 

“We have prosecuted murder cases all over the state,” Raoul said. “We have done 38 since my time of taking over. We are working comprehensively to fight gun violence.” 

 

“I say all of this to say that we are dedicated,” Raoul said. “We’re not just going to talk about violence prevention and trauma. We’re going to work on it consistently and we have been working on it consistently.”  

 

Raoul’s office has been the subject of criticism for Republicans throughout the campaign as Republican candidates fight to make crime a top issue this November. Republicans say Raoul’s office has not done enough to crack down on crime and have criticized his support for the controversial SAFE-T Act. 

 

“Too often during election time, you have people just instead of truly advocating for good policy, they fear monger using victims of crimes as pawns,” Raoul said.  

 

Republicans, including Raoul’s opponent DeVore, are calling for repealing or making major changes to the SAFE-T Act. DeVore and other Republicans have held numerous news conferences in recent weeks highlighting what they believe are flaws in the act. A right-wing political action committee headed by Dan Proft is also running ads on TV focusing on crime and sending out newspapers to prospective voters with misinformation about the SAFE-T Act.  

 

“There are a lot of people out here pretending to be newspapers… that are fearmongering with inaccurate information,” Raoul said.  

 

While Raoul said he supports the SAFE-T Act and its implementation, he said that doesn’t mean changes can’t be made to the law. He noted some changes could involve clarifying what is considered a threat to public safety under the bill that would allow a person charged with a crime to be held in jail as they await trial.  

 

Democratic sponsors of the SAFE-T Act said at a news conference last week they are having ongoing conversations to clarify language in the bill. 

 

“Untruths about the SAFE-T Act does nothing to [create] sincere, good debate on policy… The way to deal with it is not through fearmongering, fake news, inaccurate news, through mailers that are sent out as real newspapers into people’s homes, but through conversation at the State House,” Raoul said.  

 

In a statement to The Daily Line, DeVore said Raoul was still failing to note which parts of the law were being misunderstood by Republicans. 

 

“[Gov. JB] Pritzker, Raoul, and frankly, a lot of the Illinois press corp refuse to respond with any legal reasoning to defend their assertion of misinformation,” DeVore said.  “Their only response is more gaslighting of the public which will likely turn into insults and criticism.  If the press would just insist on a substantive explanation to support their argument, the public would quickly learn Kwame Raoul doesn’t understand any of this.”