CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois could ban assault weapons under a plan proposed Tuesday by Gov. Pat Quinn, but any gun control regulation would have to clear major hurdles even with a renewed nationwide debate.
The Chicago Democrat used his amendatory veto power to gut a bill related to ammunition sales and add language prohibiting the manufacture, delivery, sale and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons and attachments. Illinois lawmakers could accept or override the changes, or not call a vote at all.
The proposal – which specifically bans the AK-47, AR-15 and TEC-9 – was first reported by The Associated Press.
“It’s very clear that these particular weapons are not designed to do anything but to have human targets,” Quinn told reporters in Chicago.
The Colorado movie theater massacre has reignited debates about assault weapons and in recent days, a number of anti-violence advocates, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, have called for similar action in Chicago. Quinn recently signaled his support for a ban while noting the heroism shown by an Illinois man who was killed in the attack.
A handful of states have assault weapons bans, including New Jersey and Massachusetts. A federal ban expired in 2004 and attempts to revive it have been unsuccessful.
While Illinois is the only state without a concealed carry law, an assault weapons ban would face strong opposition from the gun lobby – that is, if it’s called for a vote at all.