Illinois Democrats advance ban on ‘bump stocks’; Republicans call the effort too broad


(Anthony Souffle | Chicago Tribune | TNS)

Gov. Bruce Rauner watches from his seat in the audience as President Barack Obama speaks on the designation of the Pullman National Monument Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago. (Anthony Souffle | Chicago Tribune | TNS)

Democrats advanced legislation Tuesday that would ban trigger modification devices that allow guns to fire more rapidly, saying stricter regulations are needed following the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Supporters led by state Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, said the measure is designed to prohibit the sale and possession of “bump stocks,” which were used by the Las Vegas shooter to allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic fully automatic weapons.

However, opponents led by gun rights groups contended the proposal was too broad and would apply to common modifications, such as putting an after-market trigger on a firearm.


“This bill would essentially prohibit, or outlaw, in our rough estimation, 50 percent of the firearms out in Illinois today,” said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. “This may be a response to what took place in Las Vegas, but the net result is criminalizing a lot of very common things gun owners do to modify their guns to make them shoot better, to make them shoot more accurately.”

Vandermyde called the legislation an “overreach,” saying Democrats are seeking to take advantage of a tragedy to push through tighter gun controls even as facts surrounding the shooting continue to change.

The bill passed a committee on a 7-5 vote, sending it to the House floor. Republicans voted against it. They favor a competing bill that would only apply the ban to bump stocks, not other devices. That measure, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, has the backing of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

Wheeler contended Democrats’ bill “muddied the water,” noting that it would also require people to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card in order to purchase explosive components such as Tannerite, which is commonly used for target practice. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation passed earlier this year that put similar restrictions on Tannerite.

Moylan countered that Tannerite was found in the Las Vegas shooter’s car and said requiring a FOID card to buy it would allow it to be more easily tracked.

“Just because my bill tries to protect people, I shouldn’t do it? No. We have to act responsibly,” Moylan said.

Democrats also have introduced a bill to ban assault weapons and large-caliber rifles, but it was not called for a vote Tuesday.


Meanwhile Tuesday, the Illinois Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto of a bill that would ban local governments from setting up right-to-work zones, setting up a potential showdown in the House on Wednesday.

The governor has long advocated for local communities to have the ability to enact right to work measurers, which would prevent employers and unions from entering into agreements that require workers to either join a union or pay related fees.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto 42-13, which is two more votes than the bill received when it first passed in April. Seven Republican members voted for the override. House Democrats will need Republicans to buck the governor if they’re to finish the override.


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