Wheeler worried bump-stock bill, other gun legislation being rushed through
Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) wanted to know why gun legislation was being rushed through the House Judiciary Criminal Committee last week.
“All of the sudden in Springfield everybody seems like they are in such a rush to make mistakes is what I see,” Wheeler said. “Why the rush? We have until May 31 to get things right, and this is extremely important.”
HB1465, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), increases the age for the purchase or possession of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high-capacity magazines to 21 and allows age-restriction exemptions for officially sanctioned sport shooting and military service firearm use.
While Wheeler said she understood Mussman’s "logic of 21 being consistent" with Illinois handgun laws and age restrictions, she said in her district she has many teenage competitive shooters who are concerned with the bill, specifically asking the sponsor to carve out language for the group.
Mussman said she did write language in the original bill regarding competitive teenager shooters and “would be happy to refine that language as much as possible.”
As for timing, Mussman said lawmakers are dealing with an abbreviated schedule this year, and constituents have contacted her accusing legislators of "kicking the can and not taking action."
“I think it is incumbent of us to move legislation quickly at this moment in time, also knowing we have the ability to make refinements going forward to demonstrate to the public and the hundreds of people that are calling and emailing my office daily in concern that we are not reacting to their concerns about taking active steps to reduce the potential for violence in our society,” Mussman said.
After questioning Mussman’s bill, Wheeler wanted to know why HB1467, sponsored by Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) and amends the criminal code to ban bump stocks and trigger devices, was any different from the legislation he brought forth last year.
Moylan said at first it was criticized for being too broad and then for being narrow, but this time it is just right.
“We have come up with the perfect bill,” Moylan said, garnering laughter, to which Wheeler responded in jest that the description of "perfect" was not in her analysis.
After Wheeler repeated her question, Moylan said the bill "tightened up the language," specifically to the trigger crank, which the sponsor said was the device used in the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“The reason I bring this up is because the hunters I spoke to do not use a bump stock,” Moylan said, suggesting Wheeler watch a video on the bump stock modification often used in mass shootings.
Again, Wheeler questioned the hurry.
“How come no one is in a rush to pass my bill?” Wheeler asked.
“Because your bill is not as good as my bill,” Moylan answered, again receiving laughter even from Wheeler.
“Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you are on the winning party, and I am always on the losing side,” Wheeler said.
In all seriousness, Moylan said he did take up Wheeler's suggestions, which are in the bill.
“That’s how we have a comprising bill,” Moylan said.
Both bills moved through committee.