The Senate passed gun-control legislation March 14 that does little to address the root causes of gun violence, but instead threatens Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution to lawful gun owners, according to Senator Jim Oberweis.
Senator Oberweis said support for the different gun-control proposals varies, with some members opposing every bill, and others who support one or more of the proposals. However, he said much more could be accomplished if partisanship was removed from the legislative process.
“For some time now, I have been very concerned about the direction Illinois is headed. What we need is a Legislature that sets aside partisanship and works together,” Senator Oberweis said. “We need our lawmakers to say, ‘I think this is a good bill for Illinois. I don’t care if it is a Republican bill or a Democrat bill,’ Or we need to say, ‘This is a bad bill for Illinois. I don’t care if this is a Republican bill or a Democrat bill, we have to vote against it.’ ”
Senator Oberweis supported House Bill 1467 but did not support House Bill 1465 and House Bill 1468.
House Bill 1467 bans “bump stocks” and similar devices allowing semi-automatic rifles to mimic full-auto fire. It also allows local governments to enact their own assault weapons bans. Senator Oberweis supported House Bill 1467, which passed the Senate by a 37-16-3 vote.
House Bill 1465 bans possession of rifles by anyone younger than 21. The bill does create several conditions for an affirmative defense to a charge that must be proven at trial, but it does not creates exceptions to the offense. Senator Oberweis did not support House Bill 1465, which passed the Senate by a 33-22-2 vote.
“I had initially signed on as a sponsor of House Bill 1465, with some assurance that there would be changes that would not allow guns to be taken from anyone who already legally owned them,” Senator Oberweis said. “But an ‘affirmative defense’ is a far cry from not having your weapons taken away. You get accused, perhaps arrested, and pay the expenses of going to trial. It is not acceptable.”
House Bill 1468 establishes a 72-hour waiting period for semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, semi-automatic pistols, and .50 caliber rifles. It also bans the sale of these firearms to non-residents at gun shows. Senator Oberweis did not support House Bill 1468, which passed the Senate by a 43-15-0 vote.
Discussions on gun control will likely continue to dominate public and legislative discourse up to and beyond the General Assembly’s scheduled adjournment May 31.