Just months after the deadly mass shooting during the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, a survivor shares her story as the city’s assault weapons ban – which had previously survived a court challenge Supreme Court of the United States – faces another legal battle.
For Liz Turnipseed, life changed forever on the 4th of July.
“We heard a pop-pop-pop-pop-pop and I looked across the street – at first I thought it was fireworks,” Turnipseed recalled. “And then all of a sudden I was hit by what felt like a sonic boom in my body and I was thrown to the ground.”
Turnipseed was hit in the same flurry of gunfire where seven people died and 48 others were injured. Lying on the ground, she said she turned and saw her 3-year-old daughter’s stroller on its side as bullets whistled around her.
“Part of what I remember thinking is that we have to protect my daughter, and if I get hit that means my husband has to get her out of here, because we can’t leave my daughter without parent,” Turnipseed said. “One of us must live.”
It was a terrifying episode in what should have been a happy, peaceful day — in a town that, ironically, is one of the few communities in Illinois to have bans or any type of local control in place on assault weapons.
“The city council wanted to take as much action as possible. And it was a complete ban,” said City Attorney Steve Elrod, who was instrumental in passing the Highland Park Assault Weapons Ban in 2013 and was part of that frightened crowd on 4th of July.
He noted that the order withstood a challenge that went all the way to the Supreme Court seven years ago. But he received shocking news of a new challenge just weeks after the tragedy.
“It was a surprise to open my email and see that a lawsuit had been filed against Highland Park,” Elrod said.
Just eight weeks after the devastating assault on Highland Park, the town has again been targeted by an organization called the National Association for Gun Rights, which is making a fresh push to overturn the ban on assault weapons. of the community in federal court.
“The people who are going to commit these crimes don’t care what the law says and what a sign says,” said Dudley Brown, president of Colorado-based NAGR, which is challenging Highland Park’s order. .
Brown wouldn’t answer questions about the timing – having filed the lawsuit just weeks after the mass shooting – but he noted that the AR-15 like the one used at Highland Park is one of the most popular rifles in the states. States, and that the community ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds goes against what is generally standard equipment.
“A 30-round magazine is a standard capacity magazine for an AR-15,” Brown said.
Turnipseed – who is still recovering from injuries she suffered from a gunman wielding an AR-15 – called the group’s challenge unconscionable.
“Talk about shitty timing,” she said. “The fact that someone had the nerve to file something like this, what, two months after seven people were murdered, 48 people were injured and hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals were emotionally traumatized – is just plain mean.”