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Illinois Legislator Proposes Stripping Terrorism Suspects Of Guns

Anyone charged of terrorism would be banned from having a gun under legislation introduced this week in Illinois. Calls for gun control have increased following a mass shooting earlier this month at an Orlando night club.

The proposed ban would also apply to someone who made terror-related threat, and is considered by a school official, mental health counselor or police officer to be a "clear and present danger."

The sponsor, Democratic State Representative Greg Harris of Chicago, describes it as a "pause."

"If you think about the folks who did the shooting in San Bernadino or in Orlando, once they've actually gone and done the act, and done the shooting, it's a little late," he said.

Though a gun and Firearm Owners Identification Card would be withheld from anyone before conviction, Harris says his measure has due process provisions that would allow someone to protest if they believe they're wrongfully included. Harris says she's looking to prevent tragedies, while not interfering with law-abiding gun-owners who hunt, or want a firearm for defense.

"Several years ago when our laws were drafted, you didn't think of people going out and shooting up night clubs or churches or elementary schools. That was just not a thing that you prepared for. But it's a different kind of world now," he said.

A pair of prominent Republicans with close connections to Gov. Bruce Rauner -- Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein and Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove -- have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, along with a couple dozen Democrats. But they're all from the Chicago and the surrounding area, where this is a palatable, even lauded idea; the political reality is different downstate.

Gun measures, like one that'd keep a gun from anyone on the terrorism watch list, have stalled at the federal level.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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