Justin Bull: Good morning, it's Wednesday. It's definitely snowing. I'm Justin Bull, in for Erin Allen and this is The Rundown.
Two mass shootings in California in recent days are reverberating here in Illinois, Chicago and nationwide. First nationally, President Joe Biden yesterday called for a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban renewal. That's right. For a decade (1994-2004) it was illegally nationwide to sell 19 specific military style weapons. Mass shooting fatalities were dramatically less likely during that decade according to a 2019 study by the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. California Senator Dianne Feinstein has now reintroduced similar legislation. She also wants to raise the federal purchasing age for guns to 21. As for Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker signed a statewide ban on assault weapons on January 10th. That's just over two weeks ago now. And in that short time we've seen a flurry of lawsuits from gun rights activists who oppose it. One lawsuit led a downstate judge to halt enforcement of the ban for 800 or so plaintiffs. The same attorney who filed that lawsuit, former state Attorney General candidate Tom DeVore, he filed another lawsuit this week for 1,000 more plaintiffs. We'll keep you updated on how that one goes. My colleague Mawa Iqbal spoke with UCLA law Professor Adam Winkler. He said that a recent Supreme Court ruling might be hanging over Illinois' law and all of these lawsuits.
Adam Winkler: It's definitely going to be a situation in which we're going to see a lot of gun litigation, because gun rights advocates see that the ground is fertile for striking down gun laws.
Justin Bull: If you recall, the state of New York passed a law restricting where people could carry concealed firearms. But last June the U.S. Supreme Court struck that down. And in Chicago, The Sun-Times is reporting that extra precautions are being taken by Chicago police and organizers of local lunar new year celebrations. The shooting in Monterey Park California on Sunday took place during lunar new year celebrations. Chicago police did not release many specifics, but organizers say they've spoken with the police. There will be increased presence of both uniformed and plain clothed officers as well as private security for Lunar parades in Uptown and Chinatown. Those are taking place on Sunday.
As I mentioned a bit ago. It's snowing out there and it's cold. But even colder temperatures are on the way. This weather can make things more difficult for Chicago's unhoused population, especially when there are not enough beds available at city shelters. The Executive Director of the Chicago Housing Initiative, Don Washington, he made that point on WBEZ's daily talk show Reset yesterday.
Don Washington: And the beds that they do have, there's not a public commitment to making those places is safe, clean and able to accommodate things like you know, I've got a - if you've got a 16 year old son, you might not be able to stay in a certain homeless shelter.
Justin Bull: Washington says an increasing number of people are turning to O'Hare Airport for shelter. He says that's a sign that society has failed it's unhoused population. He called on the Chicago housing authority to commit to building more low income housing to address the issue.
Okay, in Illinois, when a homeowner is behind on their property taxes, their debt is sold off in an annual auction. It's called the Cook County Taxed sale. My colleague Claudia Morell reports that this is an exercise that overwhelmingly impacts Black and brown homeowners. They may end up losing their properties to a private investor in the process. She spoke with Sarah Bruni with neighborhood housing services of Chicago.
Sarah Bruni: The tax sale was really robbing people of their assets.
Justin Bull: Bruni's organization is backing a proposal in Springfield that would give homeowners the option of a payment plan to avoid the sale.
Sarah Bruni: We need to provide people an opportunity to actually pay this debt in installments instead of simply putting their home up for auction to an investor.
Justin Bull: Right now, the only way a homeowner can avoid the tax sale is if they pay the entire debt in one lump sum.
And now for a few quick hits. The food and drug administration is considering a major shift in the nation's COVID-19 vaccine strategy. NPR reports the new approach would simplify vaccine guidance so that every fall people would get a new shot, updated to try to match whatever variant is dominant.
The Metro, the concert venue in Wrigleyville continues to celebrating its 40th anniversary - and surprise - local emo pop punk band Fall Out Boy is showing up tonight. It's not quite my scene, but apparently they don't need me. The show sold out immediately.
And for those public transit users out there, the approved 2023 budget for the CTA includes no fare hikes. And in the weather, I don't care when you're listening to this, if it's Wednesday it's probably snowing - mid to low thirties all day. Be careful on the roads out there. That snow is expected to let up tomorrow night, but it could snow Friday too.
That's it for The Rundown. On our afternoon show today, you'll hear from a man who's watched businesses and residents in the Southeast Asian community in Uptown get pushed out by the pandemic housing costs, construction and more.
Hac Tran: Those memories... if those places vanish. And a lot of places have closed, and those memories fade.
Justin Bull: We'll hear what Hac Tran is doing about it. That's today at 2 p.m. right here. I'm Justin Bull and I'll see you then.
WBEZ transcripts are generated by an automatic speech recognition service. We do our best to edit for misspellings and typos, but mistakes do come through.