Illinois Lawmakers, Lobbyists Debate Assault Rifles - NBC Chicago
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Illinois Lawmakers, Lobbyists Debate Assault Rifles

Both sides of gun issue arguing whether civilians need military-style assault rifles



    Members of the Illinois House and advocates on both sides of the gun issue are debating whether civilians need to be armed with military-style assault rifles.

    The House Judiciary Committee had its third gun hearing in two weeks on Thursday.

    Chicago Democratic Rep. Edward Acevedo wants to ban assault weapons. He says civilians don't need them.

    National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde says law-abiding gun owners use them for self-defense, hunting and sports shooting.

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    At another hearing this month, Vandermyde said the organization was in favor of legislation that would allow Illinois' bus and train passengers to carry guns.

    Gov. Pat Quinn has been pushing a ban on semi-automatic, high-capacity rifles since before the Connecticut school massacre last month. That and a federal court ruling ordering Illinois to eliminate its ban on carrying concealed handguns have put firearms back on center stage in the Legislature.

    According to a poll released this month by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, Illinoisans are much more supportive of gun control than the rest of America.