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Bump Stock Ban Fails In Illinois House

Todd Vandermyde
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Democratic Rep. Marty Moylan, right, listens to NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde, second from left, testify against legislation to ban bump stocks and other trigger modifications at a House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

The Illinois House on Thursday tried and failed to ban the gun modification known as a “bump stock.” The legislation was a response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Bump stocks use a semiautomatic rifle’s recoil to make it fire more like a fully-automatic weapon.

The Las Vegas gunman used the devices to maximize casualties among country music fans attending a festival.

Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, says the gunman had also booked a hotel room in Chicago this summer, overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival.

“We all know someone who’s attended Lollapalooza," Welch said. "We ask know someone who’s going to be there next summer. The question is: What will it take for us to do action?"

Some Republicans say they can agree to banning the devices. But Democrats added other prohibitions to the legislation — like banning all trigger modifications that increase a gun’s rate of fire.

Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, says that could outlaw many popular modifications.

“That would mean that we are making many of our own constituents felons," Skillicorn said.

The bill was soundly defeated, with only 48 voting "yes" to 54 "no" — 23 votes shy of the super-majority needed to pass.

Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, says he's mostly concerned with bump stocks and gat cranks, and is open to addressing Republican concerns.

"The trigger modifications — if I could narrow it down to protect what my main bill is about, then I would consider it," Moylan said. "But I'm not going to water it down where it's not going to be effective."

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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