Lawmakers Advance Statewide Assault Weapons Ban

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 without any Republican support.  Amanda Vinicky reports. [.mp3 – :58]

The 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.

DALEY “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.”

Jay Keller, director of the Illinois Firearms Manufacturer’s Association, called the Newtown. Connecticut shootings an “incomprehensible, haunting horror.”  But he says a ban would be …

KELLER “a feel good piece of legislation that will in realistic terms accomplish nothing other than eliminating good, Illinois jobs.”

Both Keller and Daley say Illinois needs to have a more comprehensive conversation about stopping gun violence. 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.

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