gutierrez

A prominent Chicago Democrat will propose legislation this week designed to ban the production of low-quality handguns, known informally as “Saturday night specials.”

Although Washington’s gun-control debate has focused largely on more imposing weapons, like military-style assault rifles, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is going after the handguns that are used much more frequently by violent criminals, particularly in urban settings like his hometown, where shootings are a daily plague.

“I am concerned about the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But I am also concerned by the ‘slow-moving massacre’ that is occurring every day with handguns,” Gutierrez, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Monday in Chicago while announcing his bill.

The congressional debate over gun violence was spurred by December’s shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., where a lone gunman killed 26 people in Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 young children. As a result, much of the talk on Capitol Hill this year has focused on preventing mass killings like that rampage.