Gov. Quinn proposes Illinois assault weapons ban

July 31, 2012 3:14:55 PM PDT
A new push is on to ban assault weapons in Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn is proposing the ban, saying it will make the state a safer place to live.

This comes following the deadly shooting spree inside a Colorado movie theater.

In addition to a ban on assault weapons, the governor also wants to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Governor Quinn met with the parents of the John Larimer, the sailor killed in the movie shootings in Colorado. The governor's youngest son is the same age as the fallen sailor. And there is a closer connection to the governor's office: Larimer's cousin is the governor's chief of staff.

Days after that meeting, the governor took bold action on a controversial issue. Quinn announced Tuesday plans for a bill that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

"I've sworn an oath to uphold our constitution, every single amendment," said Quinn, "and I believe in it, the right to bear arms. But I also believe there is a right to public safety."

The governor vetoed and amended Senate Bill 681 to make illegal semiautomatic assault weapons, and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.

In making his announcement, the governor stood with Tim McCarthy the police chief in Orland Park and a survivor of an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

"There's no law that's been passed that solves every problem," McCarthy said. "It's time we've taken this step. I applaud the governor for doing so...for having the courage to do so."

Governor Quinn says he was moved to take action after attending the funeral service of John Larimer last week. Larimer was an Illinois sailor killed in the Colorado movie theater shooting.

"We have to do something. We can't stand idly by," Quinn said. "I think we should remember those who lost their lives. I think we should carry on with something that will make things better for our children and their children."

There have been previous attempts to ban assault weapons in Illinois that failed.

Some say Tuesday's action will not prevent crime.

"It's affecting the wrong people," said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. "It's affecting commerce in Illinois and really is a proposal that's really a waste of time, I think."

Pearson said a more effective way to prevent tragedies like what happened in Colorado is to require doctors to report patients that could be a danger.

The legislature could take up this amended bill when it reconvenes for a special session next month.

If the legislature accepts the changes the law would go into affect in January.


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