SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — The Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature passed up an opportunity to approve a bipartisan and gun-rights group-supported bill to ban a controversial firearm add-on, and it’s unlikely they’ll act on anything soon.
In the aftermath of last month’s Las Vegas mass shooting where the shooter used bump stock devices to accelerate the rate of fire for semiautomatic rifles, killing 58 and injuring hundreds, the Illinois House overwhelmingly voted down a measure from state Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) that would have banned any trigger modification, even modifications opponents said were common for sports shooters.
State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) told Moylan his bill was an overreach.
“Your bill is messy,” Wheeler said. “It affects our master gun shooters. It affects our hunters.”
Moylan’s bill would have also required an Illinois-issued Firearm Owner Identification card in order to purchase shooting range explosive Tannerite. The bill failed last month with only 48 state representatives voting for it.
Moylan had another bill he never called that included banning trigger modifications, but it also banned so-called assault weapons. Critics of that measure say the bill would ban the vast majority of semi-automatic handguns and rifles, making gun owners felons.
Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said the reason Democrats failed at getting a simple bump stock ban to pass is they overreached and tried to outlaw much more.
“They wanted to use it as a mule to pack in all kinds of bad gun control ideas into the law,” Pearson said.
Wheeler’s bill banning only bump stocks never saw the light of day.
“It’s insulting when something as important as this bump stock [ban] that has bipartisan support, that is supported by the Illinois State Rifle Association, can’t even get out of Rules [Committee],” she said.
“Take a look at House Bill 4120,” Wheeler said she told Madigan (D-Chicago) on the House floor following the failure of Moylan’s bill last month. “It has bipartisan support. We’re 100 percent committed to pass this bill. He was very open to looking at the bill and unfortunately we didn’t see it the second week of veto [session].”
Wheeler said the insult is compounded when in the final days of the legislature’s fall veto session, Democrat-sponsored legislation was able to get out of committees with changes that passed both chambers within a matter of hours.
Messages seeking comment from Madigan, who controls the Rules Committee, were not returned.
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), a cosponsor of Wheeler’s bill, said she’ll continue to work on getting the bill passed.
Pearson said even when government has measures in place to keep bad actors from getting firearms, they’ve failed to follow through.
“We had the terrible shooting at Sutherland Springs, [Texas,] and people found out that the government actually wasn’t doing their job or the guy would have never been able to do it,” Pearson said.
In that case, the Air Force was supposed to report assault charges to a database that would have kept the Texas shooter from purchasing guns, but didn’t.
Pearson also noted a 2012 audit finding in Illinois that showed almost all Illinois counties not reporting potentially ineligible FOID card holders to state police as they were required to by law.
“We had to have a conference with county officials to make sure they were passing along the information,” Pearson said. “The problem we always seem to find here is that the government wants more laws but then the government doesn’t use the ones they have or even possibly know about them.”
As for the bump stock ban the ISRA supports, Pearson doubted that will come up anytime soon because the legislature isn’t in until late January or early February.
“As Will Rogers said, ‘Thank goodness we don’t get all the government we pay for,’” Pearson said.
Written by Greg Bishop. Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for INN. Bishop has years of award winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “The Council Roundup,” as well as “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.
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