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Bill To Ban 'Bump Stocks' Passes Committee, But Republicans Say It Goes Too Far

Todd Vandermyde
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde, second from left, talks about bump stocks at a hearing of the Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee. Illinois State Rifle Assiciation lobbyist Ed Sullivan is at left; Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, is at right.

The Illinois House is advancing legislation to ban “bump stocks.” The devices gained national prominence this month, when they were reportedly used by the Las Vegas shooter.

Bump stocks take semiautomatic rifles and make them behave more like a fully automatic weapon.

Banning them in Illinois seems to have yielded rare bipartisan agreement on the gun issue. But the Democratic legislation (House Bill 4117) goes further, banning any trigger modification that speeds up a gun’s rate of fire.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde said that could sweep up half of Illinois’ gun owners.

“This may be a response to what took place in Las Vegas," he told lawmakers, but "the net result is criminalizing a lot of very common things that gun owners do to modify their guns, to make them shoot better.”

But Democratic Rep. Marty Moylan, from Des Plaines, disagrees. He's sponsoring the measure, and called Vandermyde's assertions "scare mongering."

“This is not a knee-jerk reaction," Moylan said. "This is what we do, responsibly, to protect our citizens.”

The measure passed out of a House committee on a party-line vote. Republicans voted no, but are counter-offering with a bill that more narrowly bans just bump stocks (House Bill 4120).

That legislation has the support of the Illinois State Rifle Association, but not the NRA.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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