Skip to comments.Governor wants ban on assault weapons (Illinois)
Posted on 03/31/2004 8:35:02 AM PST by neverdem
CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich called for a ban Tuesday on assault weapons in Illinois and said if lawmakers don't send him such a measure he will veto legislation lowering the minimum age to obtain a firearm owner's identification card without parental consent. The federal ban on manufacturing and importing at least 19 types of common military-style assault weapons expires Sept. 13. It isn't clear if Congress will extend the ban, so Blagojevich wants to deal with the matter on the state level.
"No one needs assault weapons for hunting," the governor said. "No one should need an assault weapon for any purpose unless you're in the military fighting a war."
Illinois law currently doesn't address assault weapons. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has proposed banning assault weapons at least twice in recent years, but his proposals have gone nowhere in the Legislature.
Gun control opponents dismissed Blagojevich's threat, saying it will not increase support for the assault weapons ban.
"You have two issues there which are completely separate," said Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley. "I think those who are going to vote against the assault weapons ban will vote against it regardless."
Blagojevich also said Tuesday that he would veto two other bills to ease gun laws if the legislation reaches his desk as currently written. One bill, already approved by the Senate and pending in the House, would allow a self-defense claim to override municipal handgun bans. The other would allow retired police officers and former military police to carry concealed weapons.
Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said his group is willing to fight Blagojevich on all the bills. Assault weapons bans have failed repeatedly over the years, he said, and there is strong legislative support for lowering the gun-purchase age to 18 and letting retired police and soldiers carry weapons.
Vandermyde said many downstate Democrats will feel betrayed by Blagojevich's action. They won't put party loyalty to Blagojevich ahead of their constituents' opposition to gun control, he predicted.
"If he's expecting that to happen, he doesn't understand downstate," Vandermyde said.
He described Blagojevich's threat to veto the bill that would change the age limit as an insult to young soldiers who would be unable to buy weapons even though they are asked to serve in combat.
"If he's got some grudge against them, we'll let him explain it to the veterans," Vandermyde said.
Blagojevich supports allowing retired police officers to carry guns but would veto allowing concealed guns for other groups, including former military police.
"Any bill being used as a Trojan Horse for concealed carry laws is a bill that is bad for Illinois," Blagojevich said.
Both chambers have passed versions of a bill that would allow people who break local gun laws to avoid penalties if they used the weapon in self-defense. The legislation stems from a case in Wilmette in which a man shot a burglar who had broken into his home for the second time. The village charged the homeowner with a misdemeanor for violating its ban on handguns. He faces a fine if convicted.
Each chamber also has approved bills that would lower the minimum age to own a gun in Illinois without parental consent to 18 from 21.
Supporters argue that 18-year-olds are old enough to serve in the military and should be trusted to own firearms. Critics say lowering the age for a firearm owner's identification card without parental consent would increase violence.
Blagojevich said a ban on assault weapons would be an appropriate trade off for lowering the age for hunters who want to buy hunting rifles.
"If you're asking men and women who are 18 years old to go to Iraq and fight in war and carry a gun and put their lives at risk in war, then it's hard to tell them that they can't go out and purchase a hunting rifle without the consent of their parents, which is what the law allows now," the governor said.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan said lowering the age limit concerns her.
"I'm not going to speculate or comment on the governor's decision. My response is I have a concern about 18-year-olds being able to get a FOID card, purchase guns and potentially bring those to schools," she said.
Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, sponsor of the assault weapons bill, said he hopes linking the bills will generate more support for the assault weapons ban.
"I would hope people realize that this is a safety issue," he said.
Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, a Blagojevich ally, said linking the two is reasonable.
"When opportunities present themselves to make sweeping changes to the landscape of gun rights in this state, we need to take advantage of those opportunities. And I think Rod views this as one of those opportunities," he said.
Copyright © 2004, Pantagraph Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
Thanks for reinforcing my decision to MOVE OUT OF IL!
I prefer the more traditional tarring and feathering, followed by being ridden out of town on a rail.
Hes a D, big time. Illinois is in a sorry shape. After a series of pubbie governors, the last leaving under the shadow of big time corruption, those poor folks now have the executive and legislature under firm control of the rats. I don't live there. I'm a political junkie, especially about the 2nd Amendment.
The 2nd Amd is not about hunting, moron. At least, not four-legged varmints.
Gee, Governor, isn't that the core essence of the 2nd Amendment? Any sane, able bodied US citizen should have an assault rifle issued to them.
I grew up in downstate Illinois on the Indiana state line and spentb my first two years in highschool there. My last two years were spent in Indiana, just across the state line, and both the rabbit and squirrel hunting was better there, as well as the whitetail deer season. But it'd be fun to be part of the effort that takes Blag the drag down.
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