Move To Ban Assault Weapons Stalls In State Senate

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — An Illinois Senate vote to ban semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips has been delayed, because supporters have yet to line up enough votes to pass the two measures.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the proposals have the backing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but opponents have argued the measures are too prohibitive for law-abiding gun owners.

Speaking in the basement of St. Sabina Church on Thursday, Emanuel urged state lawmakers to grow a spine, and approve bans on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

“You can feel the politics start to seep in, and we have to all come together, and put some backbone down in Springfield, and remind them,” the mayor said.

Rev. Michael Pfleger, a longtime proponent of stricter gun laws, stood at the mayor’s side on Thursday and said, “It’s time for action.”

The mayor said the measures banning high-capacity clips and assault weapons are public safety concerns, not political issues.

“Our elected officials down in Springfield need now to put public safety ahead of politics,” he said.

The mayor’s news conference convened as a Senate Executive Committee discussion on those matters stalled at the State Capitol.

Illinois State Rifle Association executive director Richard Pearson said he wants both bills gone.

Asked why anyone would need an ammunition magazine that holds as many as 30 bullets, Pearson said, “These things are used for hunting, for self-defense, for competitions, and just because you want to own one. You have to remember, the Second Amendment is a civil right.”

In the case of the two gun control measures, Emanuel and Pfleger don’t see it that way.

Despite the Chicago-area push for passage, the Illinois State Rifle Association might get its wish of blocking the measures.

Though they have cleared committee, supporters have delayed a floor vote by the full Senate, and it was unclear when the proposals might come up for a vote – an indication the votes might not be there to send the matter to the House.

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