- (Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
Senate Democrats in Illinois are rushing to push through new gun control laws before the new session begins on Jan. 9 in the wake of several mass shootings in recent months.
A state Senate committee moved forward with legislation late Wednesday that aims to severely restrict semiautomatic weapons along with regulating high-capacity magazines in the closing days of the senate session. The proposed legislation pleased some vocal gun control advocates.
"I commend the members of the Public Health Committee of the Illinois Senate for approving gun-control legislation that restricts high-capacity magazines and assault weapons designed for battlefields and not America's streets," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a press conference.
One of the proposed measures that passed the committee makes it illegal to possess, transport or sell military-style semiautomatic assault rifles and handguns. The law would not affect those who had already purchased such weapons, but would require those guns be registered.
In an unexpected move, the use of assault weapons would still allowed at gun ranges. However, those ranges would be regulated by the state's government.
The second part of the proposed measure would ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, specifically limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds.
News of the proposed gun control regulations did not sit well with the Illinois State Rifle Association, who issued a statement to their members detailing state Senate Democrats attempt to quickly pass new gun control laws.
"There would be no exemptions and no grandfathering … you would have a very short window to turn in your guns to the state police and avoid prosecution," according to the statement published by Fox News.
While the measures were able to pass the senate committee, getting full support to pass such legislation before the end of the session seems unlikely. New members will begin their work on Jan. 9 when the new General Assembly will be sworn in.
Should the bill pass the state Senate, it would still have to be sent to the House for a vote.