* A Senate committee approved two bills yesterday. One was a ban on “assault weapons,” which the NRA claims would actually ban a whole lot of other guns…
“These military-style weapons have no use in our cities,” said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said he believes the assault weapons bill goes too far.
“This will ban every semi-automatic handgun that accepts a magazine,” he said.
Jay Keller, executive director of the Illinois Firearms Manufacturer’s Association, said some weapons banned by the bill “are pistols or shotguns purchased by the average homeowner or the average hunter.” He also said the ban would cause some of the nearly 60 gun manufacturers located in Illinois to move to other states.
The bill was approved, but with no support from Republicans on the committee.
Earlier, Vandermyde ridiculed how Democrats were aiming to restrict responsible gunowners from protecting themselves in the same manner as police officers or the state’s top elected officials, like Gov. Pat Quinn or Mayor Rahm Emanuel, are through their security details.
“I don’t understand why certainly the only ones who think their lives and their families, like the mayor and governor, are worthy of armed guard protection 24-7, yet now they want to dictate the terms and conditions I or my family use to protect ourselves when I have gang members living down the block in the suburbs,” Vandermyde told the panel.
* The other bill would ban large ammunition magazines. A similar bill passed the Senate in 2007…
In the wake of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, the Senate approved legislation banning ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
At the time, it garnered the support of a handful of Republicans, including state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who ran for governor in 2010, and Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, who ran for lieutenant governor.
It did not advance in the House.
* The two bills have been sent to the Senate Executive Committee for a couple of amendments this morning to move up the effective dates of the bills by six months from Jan. 1, 2014 to July 1, 2013.
* What happens next…
Late Wednesday, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) told the Chicago Sun-Times that he expects both measures to get full Senate votes on Thursday. Senate Democratic sources predicted ultimate narrow passage of the contentious legislation, but Cullerton was not prepared to publicly handicap things that way.
I don’t know yet. We didn’t do any roll calls yet,” Cullerton said when asked to assess the measures’ likelihood of passing the full Senate. “We just got them out of committee. People are working them.”
* Background from the Tribune…
[Sen. Kwame Raoul] said he doesn’t know whether there will be enough votes in the Senate to pass the assault weapons ban. “It’s one of those lame-duck roll calls where you don’t know what is going to happen,” he said.
The assault weapons ban is a perennial issue in Springfield, pushed repeatedly by former Mayor Richard M. Daley and now by Emanuel, who plans to hold a Thursday afternoon photo opportunity at St. Sabina Church to drum up public support for the bill. It has been a tough sell in a state divided by regional politics and ideologies, where the gun-control tendencies of Chicago-area lawmakers are generally canceled out by the gun-rights stances of downstate hunters.
This time out, the question is whether the Newtown massacre, with innocent children gunned down by a shooter who killed himself, is enough to garner a few more votes from those who typically would oppose an assault weapons ban.
The Senate could vote on the assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition bans on Thursday or Friday before senators are scheduled to leave town for the weekend. Should it get out of the Senate, the measure also would have to pass the House, which is scheduled to come back Sunday.
* As always, keep a close eye on our live session coverage for updates on this and other breaking stories.
* VIDEO: Illinois Senate Returns to Springfield
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