DuPage could take position on gun control proposals

Some county board members are calling on DuPage to weigh in on the gun control debate by supporting or opposing several proposals in Springfield, including a ban on bump stocks.

County board member Tim Elliott says a number of state laws are being proposed after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

"As a county, it would be easy for us to say, 'That's Springfield's deal. Let's let them pass whatever legislation they're going to pass,'" Elliott told members of the county board's legislative and government affairs committee on Tuesday. "But I don't think that position would be consistent with our core values."

He said there have been "very dramatic events" in other states that demonstrate a real challenge to public safety.

"We fortunately haven't had to deal with it in DuPage County," he said. "But I think the time is coming - the time is here, quite frankly - when we need to."

Therefore, he said, the county board should take a stand on the gun legislation at the state level.

Elliott, for example, said the county board should fully support a measure by state Sen. Chris Nybo to ban "bump stocks" that allow guns to fire more rapidly.

Nybo, a Republican from Elmhurst, says he's working to get a public hearing on the proposal in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bill has been assigned.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2247, would make it illegal in Illinois to sell, purchase or possess bump stocks - a device attachment for a semi-automatic rifle that allows it to fire faster.

On Tuesday, Nybo said the devices should be banned because they can turn lawful weapons into unlawful weapons "that can inflict a severe amount of carnage in a short period of time."

"There's no good reason to have these devices out in the marketplace," Nybo said.

If DuPage decides to back the proposal, Nybo said he would welcome that support.

"When it comes to keeping our community safe and reducing gun violence, I think it's absolutely appropriate for DuPage County to take a more active role in that effort," he said.

Elliott said he also wants the county board to formally oppose a proposal that would reduce the police presence at schools throughout the state.

County board member Elizabeth Chaplin said she was aware of two other measures she would like the county to support.

"I support the Second Amendment," Chaplin said, "but I think there are common sense gun laws that we can enforce that still protect the Second Amendment."

Sam Tornatore, chairman of the board's legislative and government affairs committee, said the panel will review the proposals at a later date.

"These are terribly important issues," Tornatore said. "I think they need to be properly vetted and discussed before we as a committee take any action."

Chris Nybo
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