Push for gun limits in Illinois will wait until spring

2013-01-06T15:36:00Z 2013-01-06T22:09:21Z Push for gun limits in Illinois will wait until springKurt Erickson Lee Springfield Bureau nwitimes.com
January 06, 2013 3:36 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD | A push to ban semiautomatic weapons in Illinois fizzled again Sunday.

Two days after the Illinois Senate failed to act on a ban, the sponsor of a similar proposal in the House announced he would not be calling the controversial measure for a vote in the waning days of the legislative session.

State Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, said he will instead re-introduce the measure this spring.

“I’ve done it every year for the past 10 years. I’m going to continue doing it,” Acevedo said.

Meeting in a rare Sunday session as the clock ticks down on the current General Assembly, the possibility of a vote on legislation that would have limited what kinds of weapons could be owned by Illinoisans brought a number of gun rights activists to the Statehouse.

When the decision was announced that supporters would not proceed with the legislation, opponents gathered in a House committee hearing room cheered and chanted in favor of the Second Amendment.

“They clearly don’t have the votes for this bill,” said Todd Vandermyde, who represents the National Rifle Association.

Vandermyde said a furious lobbying effort kept the gun control supporters from “sneaking” the bill through during the lame-duck session, which ends at noon Wednesday when a new General Assembly is sworn in.

“We’re here on a Sunday afternoon. The committee room was full of gun owners. I think there was just an absolute uprising on how bad and draconian this bill is,” Vandermyde said.

Gun control supporters have been pushing for limits on semiautomatic weapon ownership for years. But, the massacre of 20 school children and a handful of teachers in Connecticut last month brought new calls for limits on gun ownership.

The proposal, which has the backing of Gov. Pat Quinn, would have restricted the possession, delivery, sale and transfer of semiautomatic weapons, including handguns and rifles.

The NRA said the ban would take as many as 50 percent of rifles and shotguns off the market in Illinois. Gun manufacturers, including those clustered near the Quad-Cities, said they would have to lay off workers if the limits were imposed.

Acevedo said after a proposed ban stumbled in the Senate last week, he said it became clear that the legislation wouldn’t move forward in the General Assembly's lower chamber.

“Due to the fact that the Senate was unable to act last week, we realized there was not going to be enough support in the House,” said Acevedo.

He said he will re-introduce a bill in hopes of getting the measure through the General Assembly in the spring. And, he said he is considering a compromise that wouldn’t ban as many types of guns.

“We’re willing to negotiate somewhat,” Acevedo said.

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