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The Majority Report 03/16/18 - Illinois Senate walks out for solidarity, then votes for stronger gun laws


Senators walk out, then vote to strengthen gun laws

Sen. Melinda BushAs students nationwide walked out of classrooms Wednesday morning to demand action on new gun laws, Illinois state senators walked out of the Capitol in an expression of solidarity and later approved extending the waiting period for assault weapon purchases.

The legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, will be sent to the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner, who on Tuesday was hotly criticized for vetoing a bipartisan gun dealer licensing bill the day before the student walkout.

Senators walked out of the Capitol to the Lincoln statue on Second Street. Four members delivered speeches calling for an end to gun violence, followed by recognition of each of the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and a moment of silence. Senators then returned to the Capitol to take action.

State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) organized the event.

“In the month since the shooting, classmates of the victims have been demanding their voices be heard, demanding that we do something so students aren’t afraid to go to school, to the mall or to a concert,” Bush said.

“Just last weekend I met with students in my district from Grayslake and Round Lake who share those same concerns. They want to feel safe at school and they want their voices to be heard. We’re here because we want these young people to know that we hear them and we support them.”

State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) asked the crowd to also remember Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer, who was fatally shot Feb. 13 – the day before the Parkland mass shooting – while chasing a man near the Thompson Center.

“Guns and bullets do not discriminate against race, religion, age, gender or creed, whether you wear a school uniform or a police uniform. For that reason we must stand united,” Collins said. “Let us unite and after today’s solidarity and reflection, let us raise our voices together.”

Also Wednesday, the Senate approved two additional gun safety measures – a bump stock ban and an age restriction on the sale of certain weapons and ammunition.

The National School Walkout occurred in communities throughout Illinois and across the country. It was described as an unprecedented show of unity and political solidarity by students who are fed up with gun violence and inaction by political leaders.

In the New York Times: Illinois pushes ahead with gun curbs after Rauner veto
Video: Senators talk gun violence prevention at National School Walkout
Video: Bush speaks on importance of student safety
Video: Collins: ‘Guns and bullets do not discriminate’
In the news: Illinois senators participate in walkout at Capitol
In the news: State senators walk out, vote on more gun regulation


Senate approves three gun control measures

Sens. Kwame Raoul, Tony Munoz and Julie A. Morrison

Senate Democrats took the lead in advancing comprehensive gun safety legislation Wednesday.

“This was an important step forward. Yes, there’s more to do. But we saw lawmakers come together and support commonsense gun laws,” Senate President John Cullerton said. “It is my hope that this unity can continue and our efforts will make a difference.”

Senators approved three gun safety proposals: a ban on the sale of assault weapons to anyone under 21, a bump stock ban, and an extension of the waiting period to purchase an assault weapon.

“Students around the country walked out today to remember the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and urge lawmakers to take action,” State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) said Wednesday.

“I was proud to join my colleagues in a bipartisan show of support for them. But we are in a unique situation. We can do more than host a symbolic demonstration. We can take action, and I am proud that we did today.”

State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) sponsored an extension of the waiting period to purchase an assault weapon to 72 hours from 24 hours.

“(This) ensures sufficient time to complete a background check and increases the ‘cooling off’ period for those who may cause harm to others,” she said. “Requiring a 72-hour waiting period is a commonsense reform that will help keep our neighborhoods safe.”

State Senator Tony Munoz, a Chicago Democrat and a former Chicago police officer, sponsored a ban on the sale of assault weapons and other items to anyone under the age of 21. He said the legislation is spurred by ongoing violence and concerns about the growing prevalence of assault weapon use on the streets of Chicago.

“If we don’t take action, we will continue to be met with tragedy,” Munoz said. “This measure is one step toward a solution, and it’s a signal that we are finally ready to act.”

Read more about the legislation and the Senate’s action.

Video: Illinois Senate leads on gun safety changes
In the news: Senate passes three gun control bills after staging walkout
In the news: Harmon, activists urge governor to sign gun dealer licensing act
In the news: Gun Dealer Licensing Act sponsor says he’ll try to override governor’s veto


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