Metro-East News

Illinois gun control legislation is moving forward. See how your representatives voted.

As part of the response to the mass shooting that took place Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and to other mass shootings in recent history, state legislators on Wednesday passed a handful of measures aimed at reducing gun violence.

The package of bills that passed the Illinois House include setting the minimum age to possess a semiautomatic assault weapon at 21, a ban on bump stocks and setting a 72-hour waiting period for the sale of any assault weapon.

Legislation passed the state House on Wednesday that would require gun dealers to be licensed by the state; however, it would exempt any business if firearm sales make up less than 20 percent of its sales.

The licensing fee for businesses would be no more than $1,000 for a five-year license, according to documents released by the Senate President’s office.

Gun control advocates say federal licensing isn't sufficient to stem the practice of straw purchasers selling weapons to criminals.

The gun licensing legislation has been OK'd by the Senate and goes to the governor.

“In the span of just one week, we have witnessed yet another tragic mass shooting targeting young people in a place where they should always be safe, and we’ve seen the murder of a Chicago police officer who was killed while pursuing a gunman armed with weapons of war,” Speaker Michael J. Madigan said. “But we have also seen our students stand up and demand their safety come first, and we’ve seen people from across our state stand together—first in mourning, and then in resolve for change.

"Today, Democrats and a few thoughtful Republicans stood up and answered the call, but the silence from Gov. (Bruce) Rauner speaks volumes and is reflected in the fact that the majority of his caucus opposed even these most basic gun safety measures. While the successful passage of these bills is a critical step for safer communities, it should have been a step we took together rather than another example of the governor’s failure to lead.”

Critics of the legislation say state licensing is duplicative and onerous. They say the $1,000 fee for a five-year license would be a burden on small shops, and that the state would have to invest millions of dollars it doesn't have to hire inspectors.

State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, voted against the gun dealer licensing bill when the Senate considered it.

He said the legislation is an infringement on people’s Second Amendment rights. He objected to a firearm business needing to be licensed through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

“This creates a massive a new government bureaucracy at a time we need to be rolling back the size of Illinois government.”

He also said the store hurts small firearms dealers.

“If it was so important we do this, we shouldn’t be giving an exemption to big box stores that sell a ton of guns,” Schimpf said. “Bottom line is this was a Chicago solution to a Chicago problem that is really onerous for Southern Illinois.”

Tom Petrokovich, the manager of the Curt Smith’s Outdoors in Belleville, said the store does not know how it would react to the legislation until specifics come from the state.

“I’m not going to get excited about it until it happens,” Petrovich said.

He did say the store already is licensed by the federal government.

He also said the proposed $1,000 fee for every five years would be steep.

“Is it strictly for money, or do they see a need?” Petrokovich asked.

Federal firearm licenses costs about $100 every three years.

Petrokovich added he has not seen a jump in gun sales following the Parkland shooting and the subsequent proposed gun control legislation.

“I haven’t sold an AR in months,” Petrovich said.

Cathy Stoltz, 68, of Belleville, is an adjunct criminal justice professor at Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis. She said she supports the measure being moved forward.

She worked a year as a police officer, is retired Air Force and worked in insurance before teaching.

“I’ve been around guns my entire life. You don’t need a cannon to protect your property,” Stoltz said.

“The only thing a person needs a gun for is to protect life and limb, or their loved ones, and you don’t need an assault rifle for that,” she said.

Stoltz said she would ban assault rifles, bump stocks and conceal-carry weapons, and create more gun free zones.

Another piece of legislation, the Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act, would create a process where a family member who recognizes signs of potential violence in another family member can ask a court can have firearms temporarily taken away. That legislation advanced through the state Senate.

Family members under the law would include a spouse, parent, child, stepchild, someone with whom the respondent has a child, a fiancé or someone who is dating the respondent.

Schimpf voted against the legislation.

He said he wasn’t opposed to the concept, but he believes the terms written into bills are problematic.

“You could have somebody’s rights taken away as a result of an ex parte hearing” where only one side gets notified, Schimpf said. “If someone has a grudge against somebody else and goes to a judge, the judge doesn’t have to hear from the person whose Second Amendment rights are being taken away before the judge grants the restraining order.”

He also said the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Schmipf said he would want to see a higher burden of proof requirement, and that the judge should have to contact the person who is potentially having their firearms taken away.

Schimpf questioned why the package of gun legislation was being voted on so quickly, saying the bills were discussed in committee Tuesday, and voted on Wednesday.

“To use that tragedy as a basis for trying to rush through this legislation, I think just reeks of politics,” Schimpf said. “What you really have is people trying to score political points on the eve of a primary election.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

How they voted Wednesday

Bill banning bump stocks

  • State Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey – No

  • State Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem – No

  • State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton – Yes

  • State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis – Yes

  • State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea – Yes

  • State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville – No

  • State Rep. Katie Stuart, D- Edwardsville – Yes

Bill banning sales of assault-style weapons to anyone younger than 21

  • Bristow – No

  • Cavaletto – No

  • Costello – No

  • Greenwood – Yes

  • Hoffman – Yes

  • Meier – No

  • Stuart – Yes

Bill requiring firearms dealers to have a state license

  • Bristow – No

  • Cavaletto – No

  • Costello – No

  • Greenwood – Yes

  • Hoffman – No

  • Meier – No

  • Stuart – Yes

  • State Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville – Yes

  • State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton – No

  • State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon – No

  • State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo – No

Bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period when buying an assault weapon

  • Bristow – No

  • Cavaletto – No

  • Costello – No

  • Greenwood – Yes

  • Hoffman – Yes

  • Meier – No

  • Stuart – Yes