By Jim Hagerty
The Rockford Record
An Illinois Senate committee passed two bills to the full Senate Wednesday, Jan. 2, taking the next step toward what could result in significant restrictions on gun ownership in the state.
The bills are aimed at restricting semiautomatic weapons and high-round ammunition clips.
The first, House Bill 815 (HB 815), would ban the sale of “assault” weapons in Illinois.
According to the bill, that means the sale of all semiautomatic handguns and rifles would be illegal.
Those who already own semiautomatic weapons would be permitted to retain them with proper registration.
Shooting ranges are also highly regulated under HB 815, giving state agencies absolute control over licensing and other requirements.
If Gov. Pat Quinn signs HB 1263 as-is, ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds would be banned.
Those who already own clips holding more than 10 cartridges would be required to register each magazine with the state or face penalties, Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, reported from Springfield Wednesday night.
Syverson voted against both bills.
“Both are overreaching, and would have no impact on reducing crime,” Syverson said via Facebook.
Syverson said the definition of ”assault” weapons is too vague, as it takes in the majority of all guns.
Both bills are being hurried largely by Democrats, in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 27 people, including 20 children, were gunned down Dec. 14.
All of the victims were killed with a military style assault rifle obtained legally by the shooter’s mother.
Bill sponsor Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, was thrilled Wednesday, saying restrictions on gun manufacturers and retailers are long overdue.
“It is about time that somebody stands up to the bully that is the gun industry,” Kotowski said.
Kotowski will serve District 28 after this week’s lame-duck session. He was elected to District 33 in 2007.
The Senate is expected to vote on both bills this week.
Representatives of the 118-member Illinois House will convene in Springfield Jan. 6-8.