State Sen. Paul Schimpf discusses gun votes
On a day when students from across the country participated in school walkouts calling for gun-safety measures, the Illinois Senate voted on three bills addressing the issue.
The Senate voted to set a minimum age of 21 in order to own an assault-style weapons, assault-style weapon attachments, .50-caliber rifles or large-capacity magazine. Because of an amendment, the legislation, which was previously passed by the House, will need to be reconsidered by the House.
The proposal would exempt members of the armed forces while in performance of their duties, transportation of weapons in another state, possession of firearms used in target-shooting competitions sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, possession of a weapon being used at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, and possession of a weapon used for hunting, among other exemptions. The weapons being transported would need to be broken down and in a firearm case when they are not being used.
The Senate also voted to ban bump stocks and trigger cranks. The Las Vegas shooter, who killed 58 people at an outdoor country music festival, used a bump stock in order to allow his rifle to fire like an automatic weapon. Automatic weapons are illegal.
State senators also voted to increase the waiting period to receive an assault-style weapon after purchase from 24 hours to 72 hours, which mirrors handguns.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon voted "no" on all the measures.
"Answers to hate? Unfortunately not," McCarter said on Twitter.
Gov. Bruce Rauner this week already vetoed a measure to require gun dealers to have a state license, which would have been in addition to a federal firearms dealer license. The measure would have exempted big-box stores.
The votes Tuesday came on the same day students across the country walked out schools in support of gun-control measures in the wake of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
How metro-east senators voted:
21-year-old age minimum
State Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville: Yes
State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton: No
State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo: No
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon: No
Bump stock ban
The U.S. House of Representatives took action to improve safety in schools on Wednesday when it passed the STOP School Violence Act in a 407-10 vote.
The legislation provides money for technology and equipment to improve school security, including metal detectors, development and operation of school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, continued coordination with local law enforcement, and money to help schools acquire and install panic buttons for alerting law enforcement to incidents of classroom violence.
“As a former first-responder, I know response time is vitally important during emergency situations,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who sponsored legislation for the panic buttons. “We have panic buttons in banks, office buildings, and retail locations, there is no reason we shouldn’t have them at our schools to protect our children.”