SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Democratic-led Illinois Senate passed three new gun restrictions Wednesday including a ban on possessing assault-style weapons under age 21 and requiring existing underage owners to transfer the guns to someone eligible within 90 days.
The action came just after most senators briefly walked out of the chamber in solidarity with schoolchildren protesting violence nationwide and one day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a proposal for state licensing of gun shops.
Raising the age limit on assault-style weapon purchases was one of three pieces of legislation approved in an effort to make it harder to get high-capacity weaponry. The others would prohibit bump-stocks and trigger cranks which speed up the firing rate of semi-automatic rifles and increase the waiting period for delivery of an assault-style rifle.
Rauner said Wednesday he wanted “comprehensive” legislation to prevent crime, bolster school security and keep guns away from the mentally ill. A day earlier, he vetoed a plan for state licensing of gun shops as “burdensome,” saying it would duplicate existing federal licensing.
“I’ve been calling for a bipartisan package,” Rauner told reporters at an unrelated event in Springfield Wednesday. “It has not been delivered and it sounds like somebody is still not going to deliver any real, comprehensive package.”
The votes came after most senators exited the Capitol to protest gun violence following the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that left 17 dead.
“Young people shouldn’t be afraid to go to school or the mall or to a concert,” Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, told the gathering. “We can do more. We must do more to protect our children from being gunned down.”
Bush read the names and some personal details of each of the Stoneman victims, while a different Senate colleague in turn held up the student’s photo. When Bush became too emotional to continue, she yielded to Sen. Sue Rezin, a Morris Republican.
Only one of the three proposals goes to Rauner for action. That would impose a 72-hour waiting period, instead of 24, for delivery of a high-capacity weapon.
The other two were changed in the Senate and must return to the House for concurrence. Rauner has signaled approval for the bump stock and trigger-crank prohibition. The Senate altered the version that came from the House, adding a provision to allow local governments to regulate assault-style firearms as long as they’re not less restrictive than state law.
The other would increase the age to purchase an assault-style gun from 18 to 21. Advocates contend that guns won’t be confiscated, but those caught after the law takes effect would be penalized. The sponsor, Chicago Democratic Sen. Antonio Munoz, added a provision that makes it easier for those who possessed the guns before the law took effect, and under other circumstances, to avoid prosecution. But 18 of 22 Republicans opposed the measure
“You’re stripping away someone’s right to defend themselves simply because they aren’t 21,” said Sen. Neil Anderson, a Republican from Andalusia.
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