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Illinois Ban On Assault Weapons Advances [UPDATED]

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 3, 2013 7:20PM

Guy J. Sagi /
UPDATE: The Senate failed to get the legislation to a vote this afternoon.

In the wake of the Newtown massacre in Connecticut, lawmakers in Springfield are moving forward with legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips in the New Year.

House Bill 1263, sponsored by state Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago), would ban the possession and sale of semi-automatic assault weapons. House Bill 815, sponsored by state Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), would ban the possession and sale of large capacity magazines that carry more than 10 rounds. Both measures passed the Senate public health committee this week on a party-line 6-4 vote, and the lame-duck senate is expected to vote on each this week, but it's not clear if it has a chance of passing.

"It's one of those lame-duck roll calls where you don't know what is going to happen," Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) told the Tribune.

Munoz, who is also a Chicago police officer, said the Newtown shootings have had some impact on the decision to move forward with legislation that has failed to pass before. The legislation is also backed by Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, both long-standing proponents of gun control. In July 2012, Quinn tried to add bans on assault weapons and high-capacity clips to an ammunition bill, which gun supporters quickly rejected.

In a press release from the mayor's office yesterday, Emanuel praised the two bills, saying, "In order to protect our children, our families and our communities, we need common-sense laws that provide the residents of our cities with the safety they deserve."

Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, told the State Journal Register, “These military-style weapons have no use in our cities.”

Predictably, gun enthusiasts and the National Rifle Association are not pleased. While current owners would not be required to give up their guns, they would be required to register them. While registering certain items, like a vehicle, is a pretty mundane thing, Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the NRA said that registering a deadly weapon treats “gun owners like sex offenders.” The Senate could vote on the measures before the weekend.