Two Chicago gun control measures advance

2012-02-29T14:22:00Z 2012-03-22T21:51:47Z Two Chicago gun control measures advanceKurt Erickson The Quad-City Times
February 29, 2012 2:22 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD — Two controversial gun control proposals advanced to the full House Wednesday.

On a partisan vote, the Democratic-controlled House Executive Committee approved a measure requiring handgun owners to register their weapons with the state.

The panel also signed off on legislation that would create a special 2 percent tax on ammunition, which would finance trauma facilities that treat gunshot victims.

Both measures headed to the floor after failing to win support from Republican committee members. They said it remains unproven that such laws will reduce crime. And, they added, downstate gun owners would be unfairly burdened with the changes.

The gun registry was proposed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, He originally called for a $65 registration fee, but that amount was pared to $20, with the proceeds going to various crime-fighting efforts.

“This is a tool that police can use,” said state Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, who sponsored the registry legislation.

The ammo tax pushed by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, would generate as much as $1.2 million, according to legislative estimates.

“Once again, the rest of the state is being bled for Cook County,” said Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. “We don’t like gun registration schemes.”

Illinois currently requires gun owners to have a firearm owners identification card. There is no state requirement for people to report the type and number of guns or ammunition they own.

State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, said the best way to lower crime rates would be to give Illinoisans the right to carry concealed weapons.

“The mayor’s people sure don’t come down and support that,” Bost said.

A proposal to allow Illinoisans to carry loaded weapons in public fell six votes short of passage last year.

The gun registry legislation is House Bill 5831. The ammunition tax is House Bill 5167.

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