Anti-shooting campaign controversy packing heat

By Anna Yee

September 25, 2012 Updated Sep 25, 2012 at 6:50 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- You've seen the billboards, bus ads, and may have heard the theme song ("Don't Shoot!"), but that isn't enough for lawyer Frank Ierulli.

A former assistant state's attorney, Ierulli is hoping to get elected as the Peoria County State's Attorney this November.

He says his number one priority is public safety, and this week, Ierulli bashed the city's effort behind the 'Don't Shoot' campaign, which aims to curb gun violence.

"What we have so far to date: scary billboards with a quippy tag line," said Ierulli on Monday.

It was this comment that caused the Mayor to call out Ierulli for political mud-slinging.

"It's a travesty," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, "that in light of all the negative things going in political campaigns right now, in the state, in the country, that someone is stooping so low to take an important initiative like 'Don't Shoot,' which is going to save lives, and politicizing it for their own personal advantage. I think it's a disgrace."

"That's nonsense," said Ierulli. "The facts speak for themselves. We've all been waiting. The whole city has been waiting and living with the level of violence over the last few years that we've seen increase, and we need to do something right now."

Ierulli criticizes authorities running 'Don't Shoot,' for waiting to roll out the initiative in full force until the politically opportune moment.

Current Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady says the pre-arrest phase takes time.

"There are federal agencies involved," said Brady. "They're doing the investigation of individuals. That investigation involves FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), and those agencies are putting together the case because there will be arrests made."

Like Ierulli, Brady denies using the Don't Shoot campaign to fuel his own political one.

Brady says arrests are scheduled to be made this year, sending a message to all gun violence offenders not to shoot.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.DontShootPeoria.com.

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