Parents who suffered unfathomable loss during the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., today joined Governor Pat Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and Senator Dan Kotowski to urge lawmakers to ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois. Recent shootings such as in Newtown, where a gunman fired 154 bullets in less than five minutes, have put a spotlight on the extreme and unnecessary danger posed by high-capacity magazines. To enact safeguards in Illinois, Sen. Kotowski on Friday filed legislation - Senate Bill 1002 - to ban the sale of these weapons throughout the state.
"No family should go through what the families of Newtown have endured," Governor Quinn said. "While there are no words in the English language to comfort their loss, as elected officials, we are in a position to do something about it to help save lives in the future. Banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines is common-sense public safety policy that will have no impact on hunting or sport. This legislation will help minimize the risk of violence in our communities, and better protect our children and loved ones."
Nicole Hockley, Mark Barden and Francine Wheeler each lost a child in the unthinkable tragedy that occurred in Newtown, and they stand with Governor Quinn to push for common-sense gun laws in Illinois.
"In the days and weeks since tragedy from gun violence rocked our community on December 14, we have been comforted by the outpouring of kindness and support from individuals and families from every state, including the good people of Illinois," said Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan, age 6, who was killed at Sandy Hook. "We are here in Illinois to provide our perspective and our support, meeting with elected leaders to promote legislative changes that will help end gun violence. Senate Bill 1002, which limits the sale of high-capacity magazines, will help to prevent tragedies like the one that occurred in Sandy Hook and prevent other families from experiencing our grief. We commend Governor Quinn and the Illinois state senators and representatives who are working to save lives and keep communities safer."
The governor strongly supports Senate Bill 1002, which will allow Illinois to join more than 10 other states across the country that put reasonable restrictions on the size of ammunition magazines. High-capacity ammunition magazines have been used in almost all mass shootings in recent history, including Tuscon, Ariz., to Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. Because of their capacity to hold many rounds of ammunition, these magazines significantly increase the deadliness of the firearms using them.
"I stand with Senator Dan Kotowski and Governor Pat Quinn in the effort to prohibit the sale of high-capacity magazines and limit the damage caused by weapons," President Cullerton said. "I hope that the families that are here today encourage more of my colleagues in the General Assembly to pass responsible gun laws."
"I'm proud to introduce this legislation in honor of all victims of gun violence especially those children and teachers who suffered that tragic day at Newtown," Sen. Kotowski said. "This bill will limit the horrific damage caused by weapons with high-capacity ammunition magazines. It will also increase punishment for people who use of these lethal magazines in acts of crime or violence."
Senate Bill 1002 would ban the delivery and sale of ammunition magazines that accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Sale or delivery of these high-capacity magazines would result in a prison sentence of up to three years. Sale or delivery of multiple of these magazines, or a subsequent offense with one magazine would result in up to a five-year sentence.
Additionally, sale or delivery of an even-larger magazine that accepts more than 17 rounds would result in up to five years in prison. A subsequent violation, or violation with multiple of these 17+ round magazines would result in a seven year prison term.
As reported by numerous news outlets, several children were saved when the Newtown gunman paused to stop and reload. Passing this bill will allow Illinois to join states such Connecticut, Maryland and Colorado who have responded to Newtown and other recent tragedies by adopting reasonable restrictions on the size of ammunition magazines. A recent poll showed that nearly 70 percent of Illinois voters--approximately 80 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans--support a ban on high-capacity magazines. (March 27-April 2, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner).
Exemptions from this legislation include law enforcement and retired law enforcement, correctional officers, and military personnel. High-capacity ammunition magazines were originally designed for use only by military personnel.
With two weeks to go until the end of the spring session, Governor Quinn, the Newtown parents and leading lawmakers are working to pass this legislation. The Newtown parents will travel to Springfield on Sunday evening where they will stay in the governor's mansion. They will also meet with legislators at the Capitol on Monday to discuss their experiences and the necessity of this public safety measure in Illinois.
Following the July 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., that killed Petty Officer 3rd Class John Larimer of Crystal Lake, Governor Quinn proposed to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois. This new measure is part of Governor Quinn's public safety agenda - which he announced during his 2013 State of the State address - to ensure the safety of all communities across Illinois.