Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

February 27, 2013

House adds Phelps gun-carry bill as amendment


For sponsors of many of the amendments, it was an exercise in sensible safeguards.

Answering a question from Republican Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon about the Bill of Rights' guarantee that citizens may keep and bear arms, Rep. Deborah Mell, D-Chicago, said, "I support the language in the Second Amendment, but I feel it is necessary to put in regulations for the public safety."

Mell, who sponsored a successful measure to prohibit guns on public transit, she said she'd rather have police, not armed citizens, provide protection.

Tempers rose and ebbed as frustrated Republicans questioned the majority's motives. Democrats booed and shouted "No!" when Rep. Jim Sacia suggested imposing gun limits across Illinois because of Chicago's homicide problem would be like forcing statewide castration because of a population boom in the city.

"If you're having too many kids, you want me to get castrated," said former FBI agent Sacia, R-Pecatonica. "That was an analogy to show how silly this is. You bet I used Chicago as an example because you're the folks that want this craziness."

The Madigan procedure, requiring votes on specific issues, allows anti-gun Democrats to record "no" votes on individual provisions even though they might be forced to vote for a final bill in response to the court ruling. It also means Republicans will be on record as opposing what liberals might term "commonsense" gun restrictions, such as banning them from schools.

"We're going to play the game. You'll say that we all want violence in schools, which is nonsense," said Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican. "We're the laughingstock of the nation."


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