Ill. Senate Committee Approves Two Gun Control Measures
Following last month's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, Illinois legislators are hurrying to crack down on guns, despite opposition from groups like the National Rifle Association.
On their first day back for the General Assembly's last week of session, Senate Democrats sent two gun control measures to the floor.
Illinois Council on Handgun Violence Director Colleen Daley pleaded with Senators to pass a ban on new purchases of assault weapons. She says she doesn't want Illinois to become the next state where they're used in a mass killing.
"The killings need to stop and passing a ban on the sale of these dangerous weapons is a great first step in stopping the senseless violence," said Daley in her testimony.
But opponents of the measure called the ban a knee jerk reaction that fails to address the underlying, societal problems.
Under one proposal, Illinois gun-owners would no longer be able to buy so-called "assault weapons" and another forbids new sales of magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.
The National Rifle Association's Todd Vandermyde doesn't like that gun-owners who currently own those magazines would have to register them with the state police.
"In order for me to keep my existing property I have to get treated like a sexual predator and register myself and my belongings with the state police," argued Vandermyde in his testimony. "I have to pay a tax to keep the existing magazines that I already have. And it looks like I'll never ever be able to replace them or repair them if one of them goes foul."
The NRA is also opposed to the other measure, which is intended to ban assault weapons. Vandermyde says the legislation is written in such a broad manner, it would outlaw other popular guns, too.
Supporters are trying to get the measures through both chambers before Jan. 9, when the current session of the General Assembly adjourns for good and new members take over.
The measure passed on a strictly partisan vote - Democratic for it, Republicans opposed - as did a second measure that would forbid the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines.