Illinois 'One Step Closer to Gun Ban'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - A proposal to ban "assault weapons" is advancing in the Illinois Senate, much to the dismay of "freedom-loving Illinoisans," the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) warned on Tuesday.

Sponsored by Senate President Emil Jones, SB16 -- the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2007 -- would prohibit the manufacture, sale and possession of hundreds of models of rifles and shotguns.

Second Amendment supporters say the weapons are widely used for hunting and target shooting, but gun control advocates view them as the weapons of choice for street gangs and other criminals.

The bill passed the Senate Public Health Committee on Tuesday, moving to the full Senate, where ISRA predicts it will prompt a "furious floor fight."

"The net effect of this bill would be the destruction of many time-honored Illinois traditions," said Richard Pearson, spokesman for the Illinois State Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.

"Competitive target shooting -- enjoyed by thousands of Illinoisans -- would become a thing of the past. Collectors would feel the sting of this legislation as well, since their collections would become virtually worthless overnight."

ISRA criticized the "ambiguous wording" of the bill, which would "instantly create hundreds of thousands of felons" out of law-abiding citizens who happen to own proscribed guns.

"The kicker is, this bill contains absolutely no provisions that address violent criminals -- its sole impact is on the law-abiding hunter and sportsman," Pearson said.

ISRA is urging law-abiding gun owners to register their complaints with Illinois Democrats. "This may be your last chance to save your guns," the group warned.

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