WBEZ | assault weapons http://www.wbez.org/tags/assault-weapons Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago updates assault weapons ban http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-updates-assault-weapons-ban-108086 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/fio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago aldermen acknowledge that the tweaks made to the city&rsquo;s assault weapons ban today won&rsquo;t do much to prevent violence.</p><p dir="ltr">But, they said, it is the best they can do.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago City Council voted to add to the list of so-called assault weapons banned in the city, and--in a separate ordinance-- to increase fines against people caught with a gun near a school.</p><p dir="ltr">The state&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-legislature-passes-concealed-carry-bill-awaits-quinns-signature-107417">new concealed carry law</a> allowed cities until Friday to update or create bans on military-style rifles.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Now this isn&rsquo;t going to cure everything, but we have a window and it would be irresponsible and reckless not to take this window and make sure that our laws were toughened,&rdquo; Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">Some critics were disappointed that the ordinance introduced by Emanuel didn&rsquo;t include stiffer punishments for owning the banned weapons.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The question is why wouldn&rsquo;t we [increase the penalties]?&rdquo; asked Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).</p><p dir="ltr">Austin, however, voted along with the rest of the city council to approve the amendment to the 1992 assault weapons ban.</p><p dir="ltr">Even without an increase in penalties, Austin said she still believes the changes will make a difference.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everyone says this is just something to just feel good, feel fuzzy. No. I don&rsquo;t do things that are just feel good, feel fuzzy. I want to do things that are going to have some teeth to it,&rdquo; Austin said.</p><p dir="ltr">Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said the amendment is essentially toothless, saying the assault weapons ban needs harsher penalties, and the state&rsquo;s attorney needs to enforce the ban.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Otherwise, why did we have this meeting today?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Fioretti said Chicago&rsquo;s ban on assault weapons has had &ldquo;very limited effect&rdquo; since it was created.</p><p dir="ltr">In a committee meeting the day before, and again at the council meeting today, Fioretti asked city officials how many people had been shot with an assault weapon in the past two years in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">He said he still hasn&rsquo;t received an answer.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;From what I&rsquo;ve [heard] from people in the police department it is &hellip; one person,&rdquo; Fioretti said. But he said that number hasn&rsquo;t been confirmed by the department.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that about 4 percent of all guns recovered this year were so-called assault weapons.</p><p dir="ltr">Fioretti also seemed skeptical of another public safety ordinance, this one introduced by the mayor and who said it is meant to help improve safety for school children.</p><p dir="ltr">That ordinance, which also passed unanimously today, creates school safety zones within 1,000 feet of schools.</p><p dir="ltr">Under the new ordinance, anyone convicted of possessing a gun near schools, on buses or along designed Safe Passage routes could face up to a $5,000 fine and up to six months incarceration, with punishment increasing for repeat offenders.</p><p dir="ltr">Fioretti said he thinks the law will create more confusion than anything else.</p><p dir="ltr">But Fenger High School Principal Liz Dozier said the new law will help make students safer.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We have to start doing things to make our communities a safer place for our kids to go to and from school,&rdquo; Dozier said. &ldquo;Our kids need to be focused more on their studies than &hellip; being concerned about their safety.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Dozier said the new laws &ldquo;won&rsquo;t fix everything,&rdquo; but they are a good step.</p><p dir="ltr">Pounding the podium as he addressed the city council, the mayor &nbsp;insisted on the importance of the school safety ordinance.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s votes are the right things to do,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;We stepped up for our children. The weak link to protect our streets are our gun laws.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel and several aldermen spent some time complaining about the state&rsquo;s new concealed carry law.</p><p dir="ltr">One after another, city council members stood to say they are doing all they can, but that the real power to improve gun laws lies with state and federal lawmakers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Down in Springfield we have a battle,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a></em></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-updates-assault-weapons-ban-108086 Highland Park bans assault weapons http://www.wbez.org/news/highland-park-bans-assault-weapons-107838 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP040908020437.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; The northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park has banned assault weapons.</p><p>The Highland Park City Council enacted the ban Monday night after nearly two hours of public comments in a standing-room only chamber. One councilman, David Naftzger, voted against the ban. He said it could cost Highland Park thousands of dollars in litigation. Councilman Paul Frank voted for the ban, <a href="http://bit.ly/1477z9K" target="_blank">telling The News-Sun</a> he&#39;s &quot;proud we will not permit assault weapons.&quot;</p><p>Illinois Rifle Association second vice president Mike Weisman promised a lawsuit, saying one would &quot;be filed without a doubt.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/highland-park-bans-assault-weapons-107838 How Illinois’ gun manufacturers keep winning the regulations battle http://www.wbez.org/news/how-illinois%E2%80%99-gun-manufacturers-keep-winning-regulations-battle-106559 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jay keller.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>There&rsquo;s one interest group that&rsquo;s keeping a particularly close eye on the debate over guns: firearm manufacturers. Gun producers would need to adjust ammunition magazines if there are restrictions on capacity. As more of these laws come down the pipeline, manufacturers are leveraging their power.</p><p>But we couldn&rsquo;t get a manufacturer to talk to us for this story. Many are wary of talking to reporters these days. We did, however, talk to someone who speaks for them.</p><p>At least, in Illinois&rsquo; state capitol.</p><p>&ldquo;Here we are today discussing assault weapons legislation that will, by realistic terms, accomplish nothing,&rdquo; Jay Keller said when he was testifying before an Illinois House Judiciary Committee hearing on banning so-called assault weapons.</p><p>At the hearing, he sat next to the lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. Both were testifying against the assault weapons ban, but Keller said they have different interests.</p><p>&ldquo;Mainly they focus on the Second Amendment. I never once talk about the Second Amendment rights,&rdquo; Keller said.</p><p>These days, Keller is busy trying to block laws that would ban certain guns or ammunition magazines. It&rsquo;s a debate he&rsquo;s seen before. In the 10 years he&rsquo;s represented the industry, Keller has defeated attempts to ban assault weapons, year after year. He talks about one of his most recent victories with a hint of pride.</p><p>&ldquo;We stopped the first assault weapons ban in the country a week after Sandy Hook,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>It was actually two weeks after Sandy Hook and one of the first legislative responses to the shooting.</p><p>Keller said there&rsquo;s a reason gun manufacturers have such influence, at least in Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;There are 8,500 jobs in the Illinois firearm manufacturing industry,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The manufacturers range from organizations that have two employees up to 1,000 employees.&rdquo;</p><p>Keller&rsquo;s elevator pitch to elected officials is that his clients, 10 of the 65 firearm manufacturers in Illinois, provide good jobs. And he said bans and regulations that affect his clients just distract from other, most important issues, like funding mental health programs.</p><p>But that hasn&rsquo;t stopped people like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who&rsquo;s called on the city to divest pension funds from any account that involves gun makers. Emanuel&rsquo;s plan was heard in Springfield. Now, Democratic State Representative Christian Mitchell is calling for similar measures on state pension funds.</p><p>&ldquo;When a large majority say they want an assault weapons ban, when people say it doesn&rsquo;t make sense to have guns in schools and parks and on public transportation for God&rsquo;s sake and you are lobbying against those efforts for purely financial gain, you&rsquo;ve crossed a line,&rdquo; Mitchell said at his district office in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>Mitchell said gun violence is the single largest domestic issue facing the country right now. He says his calls for divestment from gun manufacturers follow similar actions the state took against companies that were in business with Iran and Sudan.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to make a direct comparison, but I do want to say that I think the principle of what we want to be invested in and what we believe is doing damage to our communities and to our state and our country is the same in that way,&rdquo; Mitchell said.</p><p>Except there are a few hitches in this plan: one is actual impact. For instance, university employees sent out a memo saying its $113,000 of shares in gun manufacturers account for 0.00 percent of the $14.5 billion fund.</p><p>Another issue is that the gun industry is making bank. If you go to manufacturers&rsquo; websites right now, most greet you with a warning about how they have a backlog of orders they&rsquo;re trying to get through.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to see what positive outcome might come from divesting other than it just protects the credibility of the city itself,&rdquo; said Brayden King, professor of management at Northwestern University.</p><p>He said divesting hasn&rsquo;t gotten companies to change the way they do business partly because someone else usually comes along and picks up the stock that&rsquo;s dropped. Also, he said it&rsquo;s not like gun manufacturers do well on the stock market after mass shootings.</p><p>&ldquo;Investors have already taken into account a lot of this risk,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;But if a lot of activists, if a lot of cities, are willing to divest, it may send additional signals which may increase the perceptions that this asset is actually quite risky.&rdquo;</p><p>King said the way to make a difference can come through stockholder activism, meaning someone buys stock in the targeted company to address the issues from the inside or at shareholder meetings.</p><p>But Jay Keller, the gun manufacturers&rsquo; lobbyist, said if the state government approves regulations against gun-makers, they&rsquo;d be running providers to some police departments around the state out of Illinois. Keller wonders then, where would they go for their guns?</p><p><em>Tony Arnold is WBEZ&rsquo;s Illinois politics reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 08:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-illinois%E2%80%99-gun-manufacturers-keep-winning-regulations-battle-106559 As Springfield debates guns, vendors see high attendance at local sportsmen show http://www.wbez.org/news/springfield-debates-guns-vendors-see-high-attendance-local-sportsmen-show-104735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP080330028897.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F74006366" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>I headed out to the first <a href="http://www.pvsashow.org/">Pioneer Valley Sportsman&rsquo;s</a> show since Sandy Hook this weekend in DuPage County.&nbsp;</p><p>The event took place Sunday just before <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmakers-abandon-attempts-ban-assault-weapons-104733">Illinois legislators</a> were slated to vote on stronger gun restrictions.&nbsp;</p><p>But that didn&rsquo;t hurt attendance. It helped.</p><p>&ldquo;There are more people coming through the door because of the legislation that&rsquo;s floating around,&quot; said show chairman&nbsp;Mike Holan. &quot;People are trying to purchase what they can at this point.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Holan estimates over a thousand people came to the event. Vendors sold camo, beef jerky, WWII mementos and of course, guns.</p><p>The crowd was mostly older, largely white and not very happy to see a reporter. I had to leave my camera at the door and was repeatedly told to turn off my audio recorder, then accused of secretly running it anyway.</p><p>I was also asked to leave multiple times, though the show&#39;s leadership let me back in each time.</p><p>At one point, I started to interview a vendor, but another man interrupted, warning him that the media makes gun owners out to be &quot;lunatics.&quot; He introduced himself as&nbsp;Terry from Dupage County, but didn&#39;t want to give his last name.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We live in the Chicagoland area,&quot; Terry said.&nbsp;&quot;But we see a lot of folks from rural areas and that&rsquo;s how they put meat on the table.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>The guns at the show ranged from hunting rifles and handguns to the kind of weapons some legislators would ban as assault rifles.</p><p>But Terry says those legislators don&rsquo;t understand what an assault rifle is.</p><p>&ldquo;They think these things are full military weapons,&quot; he said. &quot;They are not. They just look like it. It&rsquo;s a like a Ferrari with a Volkswagen engine in them. You know what I mean? It looks fast, but it will only do 50 miles an hour.&rdquo;</p><p>Terry says the Illinois gun debate falls along geographic lines. Chicago, with its high murder rate, wants stricter laws. But he says the rest of the state shouldn&rsquo;t be responsible for the city&rsquo;s problems.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmakers-abandon-attempts-ban-assault-weapons-104733">state legislature dismissed the vote</a> on the stricter gun laws Sunday evening, just after the show ended.</p><p>The debate is expected to continue in the next legislative session.</p></p> Sun, 06 Jan 2013 17:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/springfield-debates-guns-vendors-see-high-attendance-local-sportsmen-show-104735 Quinn, Emanuel back Senate assault weapons moves http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-emanuel-back-senate-assault-weapons-moves-104664 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Both Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are praising an Illinois Senate committee&#39;s approval of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.</p><p>In a party-line vote, the committee approved measures that would ban the possession, delivery, sale and transfer of semiautomatic handguns and rifles, but would allow current owners to keep them. High-capacity ammunition magazines would be restricted.</p><p>Quinn said late Wednesday he is very pleased the Public Health Committee took the step. He said &quot;there is no place in Illinois for weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range.&quot;</p><p>In a statement, Emanuel said in order to protect children, families and communities, there is a need for &quot;common-sense laws that provide the residents of our cities with the safety they deserve.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 07:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-emanuel-back-senate-assault-weapons-moves-104664 Gov. Quinn vows to pursue assault weapons ban http://www.wbez.org/news/gov-quinn-vows-pursue-assault-weapons-ban-104081 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/quinn_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; An aide says Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will &quot;vigorously pursue&quot; a ban on assault weapons even though the Senate rebuffed his attempt on Wednesday.</p><p>The Senate voted 49-4 Wednesday to override Quinn&#39;s rewritten legislation to prohibit the sale or possession of semi-automatic rifles, high-capacity magazines and .50-caliber guns.</p><p>Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says the Democratic governor will continue seeking a statewide assault-weapons ban to enhance public safety. She would not elaborate on his strategy.</p><p>Senators say Quinn overstepped his authority in August by changing legislation on mail-order ammunition. He acted after a mass shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater.</p><p>If the House also votes to override, the original legislation allowing Illinois gun owners to purchase ammunition by mail from in-state dealers becomes law.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 14:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/gov-quinn-vows-pursue-assault-weapons-ban-104081 Quinn proposes assault weapon ban in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-proposes-assault-weapon-ban-illinois-101342 <p><p>Governor Pat Quinn is pushing for a ban on assault weapons in Illinois. The governor used his amendatory veto power Tuesday to alter a <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&amp;SessionId=84&amp;GA=97&amp;DocTypeId=SB&amp;DocNum=681&amp;GAID=11&amp;LegID=55510&amp;SpecSess=&amp;Session=">bill</a> that would have allowed Illinois residents to purchase ammunition and have it shipped to them. Quinn wants the bill to include a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.</p><p>As of now, anyone with a firearm owner identification card can buy an assault weapon. According to the governor, there are no state-imposed restrictions on the sale or possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines.</p><p>In a letter to lawmakers, Quinn wrote that he&rsquo;s a strong supporter of the second amendment, the right to bear arms, but he says there&rsquo;s no place in Illinois for &quot;weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range.&quot;</p><p>Quinn&rsquo;s proposal could dragIllinois into the national debate over assault weapons after the massacre at a Colorado movie theater.<br /><br />The governor didn&rsquo;t mention that tragedy in his letter, but he did say states like California, Massachusetts, New York and others have this ban and Illinois should too.</p></p> Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-proposes-assault-weapon-ban-illinois-101342