Senate Democrats pull plug on gun, ammo bans...for now
4 months, 2 weeks ago
There's not enough support in the Illinois Senate to impose tough new restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips
SPRINGFIELD - There's not enough support in the Illinois Senate to impose tough new restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
In a setback for gun control advocates in the wake of the murder of school children in Connecticut, the Illinois Senate was poised to adjourn Thursday without voting on two pieces of legislation aimed at limiting access to certain kinds of weapons and bullets.
Although the two proposals could emerge again when the legislature reconvenes next week, the lack of action shows the General Assembly remains divided on how to balance Second Amendment issues.
A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, offered no timetable for when the gun safety proposals might surface again.
SPRINGFIELD-Driven by the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, gun-control legislation designed to ban assault weapons and the ammunition that feeds them passed a Senate panel late Wednesday, setting the stage for likely floor votes on Thursday.
The Democratic measures advanced out of the Senate Public Health Committee, which historically has been dominated by gun-control advocates, on party-line votes.
"The goal is to reduce the amount of incidents that occur where there are a significant amount of people shot in a short period of time," said Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), the chief Senate sponsor of legislation banning the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines that allow shooters to fire at high speeds without reloading.
His proposal, which passed by a 6-3 vote, accompanied a measure sponsored by Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) that would impose similar restrictions on military-style weapons, like the ones used in last month's murders of 26 people in Connecticut, 20 of whom were children.
Both measures were fought by the National Rifle Association.
"You don't hunt with a 50-caliber weapon, my friend," Munoz derisively told NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde before the panel voted for the weapons ban by a 6-4 vote.
From Illinois Senate Democrats:
The Senate Public Health Committee discussed legislation this evening that would ban assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.
After much deliberation, the Committee passed both measures, moving both to the Senate floor for consideration.
House Bill 1263 would ban the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of semiautomatic assault weapons and their attachments, .50 caliber rifles, and .50 caliber cartridges.
House Bill 815 bans the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of large capacity ammunition feeding devices (magazines).
The bills expressly exempt antique and slow-loading firearms, firearms or large capacity ammunition devices that may be used for hunting under the Wildlife Code or firearms or devices that can be used at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex at Sparta.
Firearms or ammunition devices used as props in motion picture and television productions are also exempt under this legislation. Shooting range owners will have the ability to buy, own and sell large semiautomatic assault weapons and assault weapon attachments and large capacity ammunition feeding devices for use on their shooting ranges, provided the shooting range is licensed by the Director of Illinois State Police and the users on the range hold valid FOID Cards.
Proponents of the legislation indicate in the wake of horrific gun tragedies, automatic and semi-automatic weapons only serve to create more violence. Opponents do not believe banning these weapons or their magazines will decrease violent crime and think an overall ban defies the Second Amendment.
Votes on both bills could come in the Senate as early as Thursday morning. Each bill would then need to pass the House before receiving the governor’s signature.