Votes not there for gun control legislation
Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, listens to lawmakers' questions during a committee hearing at the Illinois State Capitol this week.
SPRINGFIELD — State gun control plans proposed by Senate Democrats are on hold despite early support this week, state Sen. Dan Kotowski said Thursday.
"The votes aren't here," Kotowski told reporters from the Senate floor Thursday afternoon. "There was significant support in the chamber, but to get through it here we need more votes."
Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, sponsored a proposal to bar sales of ammunition clips that carry more than 10 bullets and argued that recent mass shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn., brought new urgency to the issue.
Also stalled is a ban on all semiautomatic assault weapons, which includes some types of hand guns, rifles and shotguns.
Opponents of the gun control measures include many Republicans and lobbyists from the National Rifle Association, as well as suburban gun owners who are watching the issue. They cite constitutional protections for gun owners and say the proposed bans are too far-reaching.
The proposals also include a measure that would require everyone wanting to fire a weapon at an Illinois shooting range to have a Firearm Owner's Identification Card.
James Marzullo opposes the measure. He teaches gun safety courses at GAT Guns Inc., a gun store and shooting range in East Dundee. In an average class, Marzullo said, he spends seven hours on safety instruction and observes his students on the firing range for about 30 minutes. He said he did not think it was reasonable to expect his students to have an FOID card to complete his course.
"That's like saying to take driver's ed you have to have a driver's license," Marzullo said.
Votes on the proposals might have to wait until the spring as lawmakers' terms are set to end Jan. 9 and the Senate isn't scheduled to return to Springfield until Jan. 8.
Kotowski said he'd keep pushing, despite Thursday's delays.
"Looking forward to the opportunity to get it in front of a vote and hopefully get it across," Kotowski said.
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