SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois should not wait for the federal government to impose a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

Rather, the Democrat from Chicago said he plans to continue lobbying Illinois lawmakers to approve new laws that limit the purchase of assault-style weapons and ammunition magazines.

“A federal ban would be ideal. We hope it gets done eventually,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “But there can’t be any waiting. The governor would like to see this as a priority. We’re not going to wait.”

Those comments came as President Barack Obama Wednesday called for a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons and limits on the number of bullets that can be held in an ammunition cartridge.

Quinn and his predecessor Rod Blagojevich have pushed for a state-level ban on semiautomatic weapons for the past decade with no results. But the killing of 26 people — including 20 children — at a Connecticut elementary school has put a spotlight on the kinds of guns they say people don’t need.

Quinn isn’t alone is saying he will press forward at the state level.

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State Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, who filed legislation Monday to ban semiautomatic weapons, said he doesn’t want to wait to see what happens in Washington, D.C.

“I’m going to continue moving forward,” Acevedo said.

According to the National Rifle Association, legislation pending in the House and Senate would ban about half of all of the long guns on the market. Acevedo said he has agreed to review a potential compromise that would keep some guns from being ruled illegal.

“We’re willing to negotiate, somewhat,” Acevedo said.

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