* Back in January, the Connecticut State Police released this description of the guns used in the Sandy Hook school massacre…
Seized inside the school:
Seized from suspect’s car in parking lot:
#4. Izhmash Canta-12 12 gauge Shotgun (seized from car in parking lot)
The shooter used the Bushmaster .223 to murder 20 children and six adults inside the school; he used a handgun to take his own life inside the school. No other weapons were used in this crime.
Let’s keep these facts in mind as we consider the Senate bill to ban gun magazines that can hold over ten rounds.
* As I see it, the ban on purchasing those magazines has a real problem with enforcement. Magazines have no serial numbers, so they can’t be easily traced. Without receipts and a very robust investigation, it would be tough to pinpoint when or where a magazine was purchased.
Even so, there’s a good argument to make for limiting the size of these magazines…
Nicole Hockley, told the committee that in her 6-year-old son Dylan’s class, 11 children escaped while the shooter was reloading a high-capacity magazine, and even more lives could have been saved if more reloading had been necessary.
“What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere,” Hockley said. “It can happen in Illinois.”
“All of those lives were taken in less than four minutes by a single gunman,” Barden said, adding that the shooter “made a conscious decision” that day by bringing multiple 30-round, high-ammunition magazines and leaving the smaller ones at home. “He knew he could kill a lot more people. And he did.”
If the Newtown gunman had been limited to smaller ammunition magazines, he would not have been able to spray 154 bullets in such a short time frame, said Barden,
* From Hockley’s opening remarks…
“As part of Sandy Hook Promise, I think it’s important that you know we’re not just a gun-control group. We’re not gun lobbyists. Sandy Hook Promise actually looks at holistic solutions and common-sense solutions for all the causes of gun-violence. So, we look very closely at school security and school safety, how we strengthen and build communities, support parenting - good parenting, and also mental health legislation.
“And in fact, one of the other parents and members of Sandy Hook Promise was in Hartford today proposing a new mental health bill for Connecticut that she helped co-author. So I just - I kind of want to position that we are not a gun-control group. We are a common-sense solutions group. But here today, in Illinois, the topic of the day and the topic that we’re discussing is Senate Bill 1002 to limit the purchase and sale of high-capacity magazines that have more than 10 bullets.
* Two Republicans supported the bill in committee yesterday…
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Palatine Republican Sen. Matt Murphy voted in favor of the measure.
Murphy said that hearing from the parents [of the slain Newtown children] had an emotional affect, but he is trying to keep a level head on the issue.
“We do need to try to legislate in a way that is reasoned. You don’t want to be devoid of emotion, but you don’t want it to control you either,” he said. “This is not a be all end all solution to these circumstances, but the opportunity that a smaller capacity provides for lives to be saved, while maybe unlikely, I think exists. I think there is a chance that this bill could save lives, and I think it’s worth taking that chance.”
* But there was serious opposition…
Jay Keller, a representative of the Illinois Firearm Manufacturers Association, said there are 65 gun-makers in the state, with 8,500 employees. Some of them will consider leaving if the bill passes, Keller said.
Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, told Keller the manufacturers wouldn’t lose much business because they still could sell such magazines to residents of other states.
Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said he understands if gun manufacturers in Illinois feel they’re “under seige,” but added: “I think there’s a chance that this bill could save lives, and I think it’s worth taking that chance.”
Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, showed committee members a photo he said depicted Chicago police officers holding semi-automatic AR-15s to guard the home of a slain colleague and said the Illinois governor’s security detail is issued handguns outfitted for magazines of more than 10 rounds.
“If it’s good enough to protect their lives, and it’s good enough for them for the protection of their families, then why is my family worth any less?” Vandermyde asked. “I’m on the road as much as all of you are, away from home, and these are exactly the types of tools that I leave in the hands of my family to protect themselves.”
Keller said another client, the Motion Picture Association of America, would no longer oppose the bill now that Kotowski had amended it to exempt the use of the magazines in filming movies.
That led to a curt exchange between Kotowski and Sen. Dale Righter, a Mattoon Republican. Righter asked if Kotowski believed violent movies contributed to societal violence. Kotowski said there were a number of cultural factors that contributed.
So Righter asked the reason for the movie carve-out, and when Kotowski said it was because movie actors use blanks, Righter, attempting to stress that movie violence looks real, said, “I would hope they’re not using live-round ammunition in movies, senator, and I’m assuming that the actors who fall over are not really dead.”