Illinois is part of the group of states leading the effort to pass what some see as sensible gun control legislation - rather than waiting for Congress to do it. Laws currently on the books include detailed background checks for individuals applying for licenses to purchase firearms and ammunition, and requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. Laura Cutilletta, managing director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says it's important to keep track of the gun legislation and trends in each state.
"And we find that there is a strong correlation between states with weak gun laws having higher gun death rates, and states with strong gun laws having lower gun death rates," she states.
While Cutilletta describes the Illinois gun laws as relatively robust, she points out the state doesn't require gun owners to register their firearms, nor does it ban the possession of military grade assault weapons or large capacity magazines.
Her organization gives Illinois a grade of B-plus on its annual scorecard of state gun safety laws.
The federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004. Since then, Congress has failed to renew it.
Cutilletta points out that it's been 25 years since Congress has passed any major laws related to gun control.
"The federal government has been incredibly slow to act for - really, for decades now," she states. "In the meantime, states have had to step up and take action, and change their gun laws."
Illinois continues to pick up the pace. Earlier this year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill requiring gun dealers to obtain state licenses.