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Article updated: 1/2/2013 9:29 PM

State senate starts moving on gun control plans

By

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Senate Wednesday began moving a gun control plan that would ban a wide scope of firearms including "military-style" semiautomatic rifles and handguns.

There was also a proposal from state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge that would bar sales of ammunition clips that can carry more than 10 bullets.

Kotowski, a Democrat, called firearms the last unregulated product in the United States.

"It is about time that somebody stands up to the bully that is the gun industry," Kotowski said to reporters after the hearing.

Opponents, which included lobbyists from the National Rifle Association, said the legislation was poorly worded and could outlaw far more guns than lawmakers intended.

Shannon Alford, an NRA spokeswoman, said the plans would punish law-abiding Illinois citizens while failing to deal with criminals.

"The purpose of this bill is to prevent criminals from engaging in criminal acts," Alford said. "It is destined to fail because criminals by definition do not follow laws, particularly not gun laws."

But both plans were approved on partisan lines by a Senate committee late Wednesday, setting up a possible Thursday vote on the Senate floor. Democrats were in favor and Republicans against.

Gun control issues are hotly controversial in Springfield, often dividing lawmakers along both partisan and regional lines.

Supporters cited mass shootings like the recent killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School as a reason to bring up the issue anew.

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