House rejects one-a-month limit on handguns

April 9, 2008 4:02:22 PM PDT
A bill that would limit handgun sales failed in the Illinois House Wednesday. Bus loads of Chicago school students and church members traveled to Springfield to lobby for the measure. The bill would have prevented Illinois residents from buying more than one handgun a month.

Some lawmakers felt that the bill infringed on people's rights to buy guns. The measure was presented as a response to the escalating gun violence in Chicago.

A lot of energy went into creating this bill. After seeing this deadly trend of young people dying from gun violence, many in the Chicago community were trying to figure out what can be done to reverse this trend. This bill was one of their solutions. But, Wednesday, the bill did not succeed.

It was an early start for some outside of St. Sabina Church Wednesday morning. Some students Clemente High School also got up early to board buses bound for the state capitol. In Springfield, they filed into the House gallery to show support for a gun control bill. State Representative Luis Arroyo introduced House Bill 4393, which would limit handgun purchases to once a month.

"This bill is only part of a three-part effort to reduce handguns and violent crimes," said Arroyo.

Debate on the issue brought out some strong opposition.

"Someone could technically buy 12 guns a year, 48 guns over four years. How are you really trying to achieve what you believe in with this legislation?" said State Rep. David Reis, (R) Olney.

"It still reduces the amount of guns that come in. Right now you can buy up to 200 or 300, and then all of a sudden lose them, and then you could be selling them out of the back trunk of a car," said State Rep. Luis Arroyo, (D) Chicago.

"If they are a criminal, they're going to do it anyway, but all you've done is you've taken law-abiding citizens and say we don't want you to do it," said State Rep. Mike Bost, (R) Carbondale.

The bill was voted down 60-53.

Supporters of the bill commented afterwards. Some were upset with what they say was a light-hearted tone by some of the legislators.

"We have to let them know where not going to accept the no's and we're not going to accept them laughing at the deaths of our children," said Fr. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

"How many more children do we have to lose in order for us to get a damn bill passed? I'm tired. I'm tired of seeing our children laying down in the gutter," said Patricia Brown, mother of victim.

"We have no gun dealers in Chicago who can sell, so they're coming from downstate, they're coming from Champaign. The gun from Champaign killed those NIU students," said Annette Nance-Holt, mother of victim.

Some of the students and victims' parents met privately with Governor Rod Blagojevich, who supports the bill.

"The lawmakers failed once again to pass common sense gun laws. Again, it's not just frustrating, but it's angering," said the governor. "How many of our school children have to lose their lives before these lawmakers here in Springfield do what's right for our kids and for our neighborhoods?"

The bill did get enough votes to be called again if Representative Arroyo and the others believe they might have enough votes.

But, in the meantime, there are two other bills regarding gun control. One of them may come up Thursday.

Those folks who came down on buses returned to Chicago Wednesday evening.


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