SPRINGFIELD — A key lawmaker said Sunday that legislation restricting so-called assault weapons isn't likely to come up in the final days of the lame-duck session.
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz is chairwoman of a House judiciary committee that was scheduled Sunday to take up a bill limiting certain types of guns. But the Chicago-area Democrat said since the Senate didn't vote on similar legislation last week, there was no reason for the House to take it up.
She didn't expect a weapons ban to come up before the committee again before new lawmakers are sworn in on Wednesday for the start of the 98th General Assembly.
A number of gun-rights supporters attended the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee meeting on Sunday, and cheered when Nekritz made the announcement. Nekritz said she was aware the issue has generated a great deal of interest.
"My phone has been buzzing nonstop, as I'm sure have the email boxes of other members of this committee. However, we are not going to proceed on the legislation regarding the assault weapons ban, and I think that that will be the case for the balance of the 97th General Assembly," Nekritz said.
Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, who is the metro-east's only member of the committee and is a supporter of gun rights, said afterward he had been expected the committee to vote on the bill.
"It sounded to me like they were a little apprehensive about trying to move this bill today," Kay said. "I find that rather curious, because I think they have the votes to pass it."
Last week, a Senate committee approved curbs on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, but those bills didn't move to the floor. Proponents of the measures apparently were counting on votes from one or more senators who were absent.
The Senate adjourned Thursday. Senate President John Cullerton said senators could return Tuesday.
The House measure is outlined in an amendment to Senate Bill 2899, a bill that originally involved probation officers.
It would ban specific semiautomatic guns such as the Colt AR-15, the Intratec Tec-9, the Beretta AR-70, Kalashnikovs, and makes such as Norinco and Uzi. It also would ban any semiautomatic shotgun that has a revolving cylinder, a folding or telescoping stock, a pistol grip or thumbhole stock, or a shroud that encircles the barrel to prevent burning the shooter's non-trigger hand.
It also would ban any semiautomatic pistol that can accept a detachable magazine and has one of five other characteristics, such as a weight exceeding 50 ounces when unloaded.
In addition, it would ban semiautomatic rifles with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 bullets. Also on the list: semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have one of three other characteristics, such as a pistol grip or thumbhole stock.
People who already own any of the listed weapons would be able to keep them, but the weapons would have to be registered with Illinois State Police, at a fee of $10 or $15 per gun.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.