Blagojevich, victims' families, advocates urge lawmakers in
Springfield to take action against assault weapons
will call special session so lawmakers can consider and pass ban on
large-capacity ammunition clips
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[July 10, 2007]
CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich joined the families of gun violence victims,
legislators, the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other
gun safety advocates Monday to call on the Illinois General Assembly
to pass a ban on the high-capacity ammunition clips that are needed
to operate assault weapons and make semiautomatic handguns more
deadly. At a press conference in front of the emergency room at
Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the governor urged the
House of Representatives to support
Senate Bill 1007, which would ban the delivery, sale, purchase
or possession of ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 rounds
of ammunition. The governor also announced that he will call a
special session so lawmakers can consider and pass the bill. The
Illinois Senate already approved the legislation in May.
"These clips allow a shooter to fire up to 100 rounds without
reloading. A real sportsman has no use for that kind of deadly
force. Instead, we've seen time and time again that criminals are
the ones who use high-capacity ammunition, and innocent bystanders
and law enforcement officers end up paying the price. Banning
high-capacity clips would have the effect of banning the use of
assault weapons in Illinois. The Illinois Senate has already passed
the legislation; this week the House should do the same,"
Blagojevich said. "As the families standing here with me today can
attest, ignoring the problem comes at a devastating cost. We still
have time this year to take action and make our communities safer."
Senate Bill 1007, co-sponsored by state Sen. Dan Kotowski and state
Rep. Harry Osterman, will outlaw the sale or use of large-capacity
ammunition-feeding devices for unauthorized purposes. If passed,
Illinois would join six other states (California, Hawaii, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York) that currently ban
high-capacity feeding devices.
The bill will also apply to dangerous semiautomatic handguns,
like one of the weapons used in the Virginia Tech tragedy, which
enabled the shooter to fire 15 rounds of ammunition without
reloading. Using that gun, the shooter fired at least 174 rounds in
nine minutes, killing 30 people and wounding many more.
Peace officers, prison guards and members of the armed services
are exempt from the ban. Additionally, hunters and sportsmen will be
allowed to continue to use these clips while they are participating
in their sport.
According to the Brady Campaign, over 1,100 people died from gun
violence in Illinois in 2006 -- more than three people each day.
Eighty-two percent of Chicago murders in 2006 involved a firearm.
Families who have lost loved ones to assault weapon fire stood
with the governor Monday to advocate for Senate Bill 1007. On March
3, 2006, stray bullets from an AK-47 killed Starkesia Reed in her
own home as she was getting ready for school. Her mother stood with
the governor, along with Gail Rice, who lost her brother, a law
enforcement officer, in the line of duty.
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"My beautiful, young, gifted daughter was just waiting inside her
home for a school bus when gunfire from an AK-47 a block away came
through the walls of our home and took her young, innocent and
promising life away. No gun with that much firepower should be
available on the streets," said Denise Reed.
"My brother Bruce was a police officer killed in the line of duty
with an assault weapon," said Gail Rice. "He was one of the 20
percent of all law enforcement deaths nationally each year from
assault weapons. Law enforcement is on the front lines -- they are
the ones whose lives are on the line every day. We cannot keep
putting them in danger with superior firepower being wielded against
"Victims who know how painful it is to lose a family member in
this brutal way will strongly support this step forward in gun
violence prevention. The public has spoken loud and clear on this
issue. We need to get these deadly weapons out of civilian hands in
Illinois," said Jennifer Bishop of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
In 2004, the president and Congress allowed the federal assault
weapons ban to expire; since 2004, police across the U.S. have
reported an increased presence of these weapons on the streets,
according to the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Large-capacity magazine clips are designed with military features to
allow rapid and accurate spray firing of 20, 50 or even 100 rounds
without reloading. By banning the large-capacity magazine clips,
Illinois would decrease the lethality of assault weapons and other
guns that use this ammunition.
Recent public opinion polls show wide support for tougher gun
laws. According to a 2007 survey by the Illinois Campaign to Prevent
Gun Violence, eight of 10 Illinois voters favor a ban on assault
weapons. And in November 2006, more than 85 percent of Cook County
voters supported a referendum calling for a statewide ban on assault
"All of law enforcement would benefit by a ban on assault
weapons," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "The
Illinois State Police support the governor's effort to enhance the
safety of the citizens of Illinois and those officers who risk their
lives on a daily basis. Knowing an individual cannot purchase or
carry an assault weapon in the state of Illinois would be a benefit
to us all."
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]