Gun Ban Would Hurt Illinois Economy, Critics Say
By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Senior Editor
February 28, 2006
(CNSNews.com) - Several Illinois-based gun manufacturers are mobilizing opposition to a bill dubbed the "Blagojevich Assault Weapons Ban."
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley are pushing the bill (HB2414) that would prohibit the "manufacture, delivery, and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, 50 caliber rifles, and 50 caliber cartridges" in the state.
The bill also would ban "large-capacity" ammunition feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Anyone owning such a magazine, belt, drum, or similar device would be required to destroy it or surrender it to a law enforcement agency within 90 days of the law taking effect.
Second Amendment supporters say the bill is designed to stop a major hunting/fishing retailer, Cabela's, from opening a superstore in suburban Chicago.
Several Illinois-based manufacturers of sporting arms plan to hold a press conference on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the bill. Among other things, they will emphasize the bill's adverse effect on the Illinois economy - a direct loss of more than 750 jobs and $150 million in manufacturing sales, the gun makers say.
Even firearms manufacturers not located in Illinois would experience a ripple effect on their retail sales, critics warn.
The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) has accused Blagovevich and Daley of trying to end private gun ownership in the state by thwarting the lawful retail sale of firearms.
The Nebraska-based Cabela's recently announced plans to build a superstore in Hoffman Estates, northwest of Chicago. The store would employ 400 people and feature a wide variety of sports and outdoor gear. The retail sale of firearms would be a major component of its business, ISRA said.
ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson noted that the village of Hoffman Estates has worked for three years to bring Cabela's to town - even repealing a local gun registration ordinance.
"Hoffman Estates jumped ship, and Daley won't stand for that. This is yet another example of Mayor Daley looking to extend his power and control beyond Chicago's city limits," Pearson said earlier this month.
If the ban on retail gun sales becomes law, "it just wouldn't pay to stay in the retail firearms business -- and that's precisely the intent of this legislation," Pearson said.
Even if the bill passes the Illinois House, it probably would not pass the Senate, the Chicago-Sun Times quoted Illinois Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) as saying on Monday.
Link to article.
From Decatur Paper today
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2006 11:44 PM CST
Blagojevich's push for a statewide ban on assault weapons will stall this session, says legislative ally
By KURT ERICKSON - H&R Springfield Bureau Chief
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod Blagojevich's renewed push for a statewide ban on assault weapons may not be called for a vote this spring.
On Monday, one of his top allies in the General Assembly said the issue might be just too contentious to move forward before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the spring on April 7.
"I don't think anything will happen with that," said Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, who is co-chairman of the governor's re-election effort. "It would be very difficult to pass that over here."
That assessment comes just five weeks after Blagojevich made the assault weapons ban a cornerstone of his State of the State speech.
A federal ban on the weapons expired in September 2004 and Blagojevich wants Illinois lawmakers to approve legislation to ban the manufacture, possession and delivery of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapons attachments, large capacity ammunition feeding devices and the .50-caliber rifle.
An attempt to pass a state version of the federal law in May 2005 fell short in the Illinois House by three votes.
Since then, supporters have been working to craft amendments to the legislation aimed at securing votes for the proposal. Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said backers of the ban want to make sure they have enough support before it is called for another vote.
"It's going to be a close vote either way," said Brown.
Gun rights advocates have argued that the federal assault weapons ban didn't have any effect on national crime rates. They also have argued that such a ban would hurt hunters, sportsmen and gun collectors.
But Blagojevich and many Chicago-area lawmakers say the guns affected by the ban are better suited for military combat, not hunting.
Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said Monday that the governor continues to play an active role in promoting the ban.
"We're doing everything we can to pass it," Rausch said. "We feel very strongly about the ban."
Jones said his belief that the measure will not come up for a vote this spring was not because it is an election year. But, he acknowledged, "You've got some members who ... are against any gun control."
State Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, who has been an avid supporter of the ban, said the legislation may be better suited to be voted on in the fall veto session or next spring, when it is not an election year.
"I'm predicting that as a result of the election there will be more people willing to vote for reasonable gun control measures, so that next year we will have a better chance to pass it," said Cullerton.
Kurt Erickson can be reached at kurt.erickson@;lee.net or 782-1249.