House showdown on gun-buying restrictions looms

March 1, 2018 GMT

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Democrats are gearing up for a showdown on gun-purchasing restrictions.

House leaders plan votes today on five measures to restrict firearms purchases and intervene on mental health issues.

The Judiciary-Criminal Committee endorsed each Tuesday evening on 8-5 partisan roll calls. Republicans and gun-rights advocates complain the proposals are rushed, poorly drafted and in some cases represent a constitutional overreach.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson testified in favor of a plan named for Police Commander Paul Bauer, fatally shot Feb. 13. It would bar high-capacity magazines and civilian use of body armor.

Representatives of the Illinois State Rifle Association and Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois said the measures were too broad, poorly drafted and possibly unconstitutional.

Democrats are responding to a Valentine’s Day massacre that killed 17 students at a Florida high school and the fatal shooting of Bauer a day earlier of in the broad daylight of Chicago’s Loop.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has a store located in Bradley, has also responded to the Florida shooting by announcing it will no longer sell assault-style rifles, high-capacity magazines or guns to people under the age of 21, according to chief executive Edward W. Stack.

Stack appeared on Good Morning America this morning. The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought a shotgun from a Dick’s store in November 2017, Stack said during the television interview, and though the shotgun was not the weapon used in the massacre, he said his company was moved to act.

“We did everything by the book, and we did everything that the law required, and he was still able to buy a gun,” Stack told GMA’s George Stephanopoulous.