Metro-East News

New bill would ban gun trigger modifications. Local legislators oppose it.

Metro-east legislators have concerns about infringing on hunters and law-abiding gun owners as the General Assembly looks at proposed bills that would ban guns with trigger modifications such as bump stocks.

Judiciary Committee members on Tuesday passed out of committee a measure that would ban bump stocks and other trigger modifications, as well as require people to have a Firearms Owners Identification Card in order to have pre-packaged explosives components in the state. The legislation has been proposed in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings where the perpetrator used a bump stock to fire upon a crowd at a country music concert.

Trigger modifications that are designed or intended to accelerate the rate of fire of a firearm would be banned under the legislation.

State Rep. Martin Moylan’s bill would require people to have a FOID card in order to have pre-packaged explosives, such as Tannerite, which was also possessed by the Las Vegas shooter.

“This is not a knee-jerk reaction, this is what we do responsibly to protect our citizens,” said Moylan, D-Des Plaines. “My measure is focus on modification devices and explosive substance, not the firearm itself ... It’s upon us to pass common sense-gun legislation.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association said it would support a narrower ban on just bump stocks, which also has been proposed. Legislation also has been proposed that would ban assault weapons, however hearings on those pieces of legislation did not take place Tuesday.

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, had concerns about people who shoot for sport, such as at the Sparta shooting complex, where people may shoot specialized guns.

Costello said the proposed legislation banning trigger modification is too broad.

“I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and what I feel is that most limiting laws are actually just limiting citizens who are law-abiding gun owners,” Costello said. “They don’t limit the criminals.”

Costello said he does support a ban on bump stocks.

“When it comes to bump stocks themselves, I don’t see a reason for a citizen to own that is essentially something that makes a weapon automatic,” Costello said.

Costello said he doesn’t believe the bill would pass the General Assembly.

“At the end of the day, when you look, a lot of liberal anti-gun groups that are in Chicago, in Northern Illinois, those are the ones who are right now pushing this legislation. It’s overly egregious,” Costello said.

State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, said he believes bump stocks should be illegal.

“I don’t know what the ultimate form of the bill is going to be. I’ve always been a proponent of reasonable gun legislation, while understanding there’s a Second Amendment to the constitution. ... I don’t want to jeopardize the ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves and to hunt,” Hoffman said.

“The whole bump stock issue, if it’s a bill that just addresses that, I definitely vote in favor of it, because what it’s doing is taking a semi-automatic weapon and making it into a fully automatic weapon, which I’m certainly not in favor of being able to do,” Hoffman added.

State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, said he doesn’t want to see the gun legislation move forward during the fall veto session.

“I don’t like acting on bills after a terrible shooting by a crazed lunatic. You can’t fully analyze the consequences to law-abiding citizens,” Haine said. “We should take our time and analyze in full the ramifications.”

State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, said he is against the gun proposals, saying they go too far. He added anyone can research how to make their own bump stocks on the internet.

“Our gun activists are trying to take the tragedy in Las Vegas and trying to reduce (and) take more of our rights away,” Meier said. “The Constitution guarantees us the right to go out and bear arms. We have that right; we need to keep going forward. It’s our constitutional right to own weapons.”

Todd Vandermyde, the legislative liaison for the National Rifle Association in Illinois, said the bill deals with more than just bump stocks and said the trigger-modification language in the legislation would outlaw half the guns in the state, including adjustments made by gunsmiths and those who modify weapons for competitive target shooting.

“It would make criminals out of the vast majority of the 2.2 million FOID card holders,” Vandermyde said.

State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, said she hasn’t had time to fully read the legislation, but she thinks Moylan’s proposal goes too far.

“I do like looking at these issues at single things at a time, so we could really debate the individual things,” Stuart said. “I think sometimes bills throw a lot of things into the pot, and we’re not sure where someone stands on one specific item like the bump stocks.”