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Quinn Proposes Ban on Assault Weapons

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Critics say the governor's action following the Colorado massacre is a publicity stunt. Mary Ann Ahern reports.

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Recalling the 2008 Valentine's Day shooting at Northern Illinois University as a "massacre of good men and women," Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday called for a statewide ban on assault weapons.

The Chicago Democrat used his amendatory veto power Tuesday to call for changes in a bill related to in-state ammunition sales. That bill is sponsored by noted Republican Sen. Dave Luechtefeld. It's now up to lawmakers to accept or reject the changes.

Quinn was joined at an afternoon event at Bridge Bar by Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. McCarthy is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who took one of John Hinckley Jr.'s bullets during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

"This law will help law enforcement. It will help reduce violence," said McCarthy.

Luechtefeld's original plan would allow Illinois residents to have purchased ammunition from companies based in Illinois shipped to them. The current law only allows shipments from out of state companies and the amendments are meant to keep sales within the state.

Quinn’s changes would essentially kill the bill entirely, Luechtefeld told the Associated Press, a move he called “a way to get his name in the paper.”

The deadly Colorado movie theater shooting has sparked renewed debate about assault weapons, and anti-violence advocates have called for similar discussions in Chicago.

Among those killed in Colorado two weeks ago was Crystal Lake native John Larimer, an Intelligence Specialist in the U.S. Navy. Quinn said he went to Larimer's wake and said "its time we had this debate in Illinois."

The Land of Lincoln is the only state without a concealed carry law, but an assault weapons ban still is likely to face hurdles.

Other gun-control measures have failed in the General Assembly. And the Illinois Supreme Court this year reversed lower-court rulings that found an assault weapons ban in Cook County, which includes Chicago, constitutional. The case has been sent back to trial court.

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