After hearing emotional testimony from family members of victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting, the Senate Executive Committee on Monday advanced legislation that would ban both the sale and delivery of high-capacity ammunition clips in Illinois.
Two Republicans -- Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Sen. Matt Murphy -- joined Democratic lawmakers in voting 12-3 in favor of the bill, according to the State Journal-Register. The legislation will next be considered by the full Senate.
"All of those lives were taken in less than four minutes by a single gunman. He knew he could kill a lot more people. And he did," Mark Barden said of the shooting that killed his 7-year-old son Daniel and 25 others last December, the Journal-Register reports. High-capacity clips were used in that massacre.
The proposal -- Senate Bill 1002 -- would not force Illinoisans who already own gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to give them up, but would make it newly illegal for such magazines statewide. Further, the Belleville News-Democrat noted, the bill would allow for harsher sentences for any defendant convicted of using a high-capacity clip in certain gun crimes.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who had pushed for the bill, lauded the Senate panel for their vote which he said "will make our communities safer," CBS Chicago reports. Ten other states have already passed similar legislation.
The bill, expectedly, has outspoken opponents. Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association's Jay Keller told the committee Monday "this bill before you doesn't fix anything" because it does not consider mental health or other societal concerns, according to the Quad City Times. He further suggested that some of the state's 65 manufacturers may leave Illinois if the bill is passed into law.
National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde added that he was unsure whether the bill was constitutional and questioned why police would still be allowed to use high-capacity gun magazines while private citizens cannot, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Monday vote comes amid a tense battle over the state's looming June 9 deadline to draw up a concealed carry law. The latest concealed-carry bill introduced last week by Democrats drew the ire of gun-rights advocates and downstate lawmakers alike.
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