Hundreds of people descended on the statehouse Wednesday to urge legislators pass stricter gun regulations. Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense has chapters across the country; it was founded in 2012 as a response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Member Lindsay Aikman is a high school teacher in Champaign. She says it's heartening to see students from Florida demand government action in the wake of a shooting that killed 17 of their peers.
"While we celebrate these voices all around us I can not help but think about the voices we have lost too soon thanks to senseless gun violence - young people that are remembered on the memorial T-shirts that my students wear," she told onlookers.
Signs included the slogans: "Enough is enough," "Gun sense voter," and "Protect kids, not guns." Attendees shouted "action now" and "vote them out," the latter an allusion to the November election and a promise those in attendance made to do their part to vote against those who oppose the change in regulations.
Inside the Capitol, lawmakers debated measures that would ban bump stocks and another that would raise the minimum age to purchase an "assault weapon" to 21. Another proposal that's been floated since 2003 would require gun dealers hold a state license if signed into law. Both chambers passed it, after the House made some changes including a cap on the amount of money that can be collected.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has said gun regulations should be left to the feds. Aikman and other advocates want to see Illinois require gun dealers hold a state license.
Early Wednesday, members of the GOP spoke out saying the regulatory ideas in play are too burdensome. "Springfield Democrats chose to put politics in front of policy - ramrodding sloppy legislation, not thorough, not thoughtful," said state Rep. Barbara Wheeler from the Chicago suburb Crystal Lake.