Illinois Gun Ban 'Sets Bad Public Policy,' Gun Makers Say

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - Representatives from several Illinois gun makers gathered in the state capitol Wednesday to voice concern over a gun ban bill which would put them out of business and turn law-abiding citizens into criminals.

The so-called "Blagojevich Assault Weapons Ban" (HB2414), which is backed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, would prohibit the "manufacture, delivery, and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, 50 caliber rifles, and 50 caliber cartridges" in the state.

Gun manufacturers said the bill serves no practical crime-fighting purpose since the guns that would be banned are rarely used to commit crimes, which is the primary reason why the federal "assault weapons ban" was not renewed in 2004.

They also said the measure "sets bad public policy" because it bans lawfully acquired guns and would effectively create two new classes of criminals - lawful firearm owners who would become potential felons for harboring contraband and state gun makers who would be manufacturing a legal product one day and then face jail time the next day.

"Like all good citizens, the Illinois firearms manufacturers and our customers are more than willing to do our part in fighting crime," ArmaLite President Mark Westrom said in a statement.

"But, playing our part does not include being vilified and run out of business. HB2414 is a politically-motivated piece of feel good legislation that does a great disservice to the law-abiding people of Illinois," added Westrom.

Instead of the gun ban targeting murderers, robbers, gang bangers and the like, the measure unfairly targets sports shooters, gun collectors, competitive shooters and those who keep guns for protection, the firearms manufacturers said.

They added that the bill would negatively affect the state's economy because the gun makers contribute over $150 million to the state's domestic product and have over 750 employees on the payroll.

Lost jobs and manufacturing revenue would not be the only products of a gun ban, the state's sporting goods retailers would lose over $200 million in retail sales revenue if the bill becomes law, gun makers said.

See Earlier Story:
Gun Ban Would Hurt Illinois Economy, Critics Say (Feb. 28, 2006)

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