ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Following the deadly mass shooting at a July 4 Parade in the suburbs of Chicago on Monday, another plea surfaced from a local representative for stricter gun laws.

Congressman Joe Morelle is renewing his support for a ban on assault weapons, the same weapons used in Buffalo, Uvalde, and now Highland Park.

“Nothing else we do matters if families don’t have a basic sense of safety. If they can’t go grocery shopping, or to a movie, or send their kids to school, or attend a Fourth of July parade without fearing it may be the last thing they ever do,” Morelle said. “In 20 of the most recent and deadliest mass shootings, a high capacity magazine was used, including in Buffalo and Uvalde, and we recently learned that the Highland Park gunman also used a high capacity rifle, firing more than 70 rounds into the crowd of parade-goers. High capacity magazines serve to only multiply a bloody body count, which is why I support banning them.”

However, Morelle’s Republican opponent in the upcoming election, former Rochester Police Department chief La’Ron Singletary, said banning assault weapons will only penalize law-abiding citizens.

“If you can guarantee that a ban on assault weapons is going to remove the guns out of the criminal’s hands, then we can have a conversation but I can tell you as a former police chief, it’s not going to happen. Criminals don’t care about laws, we need to enforce the laws that are currently on the books,” Singletary said.

Meanwhile, Morelle has been advocating for new bills on gun reform. Some of those bills are having difficulty being pushed forward which is something he blames on gun groups, like the NRA.

“The proposals are there, the solutions exist,” he said. What we don’t have is the collaboration and the political will to get it done because groups like the NRA have been holding Congress hostage.”

Morelle said he is encouraged by what lawmakers were able to accomplish in the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation that enacted gun reform, but said it is only a small step forward.

“That legislation, let’s be clear, barely scratched the surface of what we need to do truly put a stop to the epidemic,” Morelle said.

Morelle said during the 10 years congress had a ban on assault weapons, the risk of a person dying in a mass shooting was 70% lower. Since the ban ended, Morelle said mass shooting deaths are up 300%.

In a statement released Wednesday, Singeltary emphasized that he is not so sure criminals will be deterred by the weapons ban, stating that “Criminals will not be the ones to renew a pistol permit or register their firearms or take a proficiency test to obtain a firearm.”

Alongside his support in reinstating the assault weapon ban, Morelle is also supporting bills to enact universal background checks, establish waiting periods, and require liability, and safe storage, while Singletary said he is focused on enforcing laws already on the books.

Congressman Joe Morelle statement:

“There are those who offer their thoughts and prayers when we see the kind of tragic gun violence that terrorized Highland Park families this weekend, yet offer no solutions. But there are solutions—in fact, I co-sponsor nearly two dozen different bills that would reduce gun violence and restore a sense of safety to our communities. I’m urging my colleagues: please, find the courage to stand up to groups like the NRA that have had a chokehold on Congress for far too long. Find pieces of these dozens of bills that you might support, and let’s get to work making them happen.”

La’Ron Singletary statement:

“The recent violence plaguing our Country is further proof that pro-criminal justice reforms enacted by progressive Democrats are the reasons why we have seen an increase in violence in communities, not responsible gun owners. I have been saying since I was Chief of Police that criminals don’t follow the law. Criminals don’t care about gun control. Criminals will not be the ones to renew a pistol permit or register their firearms or take a proficiency test to obtain a firearm. When I am elected to Congress, I will work with anyone who wants to pass meaningful legislation that hold criminals accountable and gives law enforcement the resources to do its job.”