The state Senate on Monday approved an agreed-upon bill to ban assault weapons in the state, a plan that health leaders across Illinois have called for in recent weeks. [Health News Illinois]
The proposal, approved along party lines, includes provisions that ban the manufacture, sale and purchase of assault weapons and attachments. It also places limits on capacity magazines.
Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, and Gov. JB Pritzker said in a joint statement after the vote that the agreed-upon language will head for a House vote on Tuesday.
“Gun violence is an epidemic that is plaguing every corner of this state and the people of Illinois are demanding substantive action,” they said in the statement. “With this legislation we are delivering on the promises Democrats have made and, together, we are making Illinois’ gun laws a model for the nation.”
The vote came hours after leaders of some of Chicago’s major health systems joined the call for action.
"I think we can all say enough is enough,” Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO of RUSH University System for Health, said during a press conference at Rush University Medical Center. “That should not be a controversial statement.”
Lateef was joined by officials from Sinai Chicago, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, University of Chicago and others to request state lawmakers take action before the lame duck session ends Wednesday.
Dr. Tanya Zakrison, a member of the section of trauma and acute care surgery at the University of Chicago, said such weapons “traumatize not only patients and their families, but the entire team tasked with their care.”
“The Legislature cannot leave the lame duck session without passing a comprehensive assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban that is enforceable,” she said. “This matter is urgent. Our communities shouldn’t have to wait another day to be safe from gun violence.”
The press conference came a week after hundreds of Illinois physicians called on Illinois lawmakers to take up such legislation.