Illinois House Adjourns Without Vote on ‘Paul Bauer Act'

The Illinois House voted in favor of new legislation reforming gun laws on Wednesday, but tabled discussions on other bills, including the "Paul Bauer Act." 

That bill would ban high-capacity magazines and would prohibit civilians from owning body armor. 

House Bill 1664 to implement enhanced screening to prevent people with a history of mental illness from purchasing firearms also was not voted upon by legislators. 

After days of debate and testimony, lawmakers passed a series of bills in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

Several measures were approved by the House, including House Bill 1469, which bans the sale, manufacture, and possession of "bump stock devices." The devices, which were used in the Las Vegas shooting that claimed the lives of 59 people, passed the House by an 83-31 vote. 

House Bill 1465, which raises the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon, attachment, or .50 caliber rifle, also passed the House by a 64-51 vote. 

Also passing the Illinois House was Senate Bill 1657, which will require gun dealers in the state of Illinois to meet licensing and training requirements. According to legislators, the ATF does require licensing for dealers, but does not require video surveillance and background checks on employees. 

The new bill does require those procedures, and will now head to Governor Bruce Rauner's desk. 

Finally, House Bill 1468 passed the House. The bill bans the sale of all firearms, including assault weapons, without a 72-hour "cooling off period." 

The gun legislation was passed amid a flurry of advocacy in the Capitol. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson testified in support of the Cmdr. Paul Bauer Act on Tuesday, two weeks after Bauer was fatally shot in a stairwell at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

Shomari Legghette, the suspect charged in his death, is a convicted felon who police said was wearing body armor and used a semi-automatic weapon with a 30-round clip in the shooting.

"Now while we can't bring Cmdr. Bauer back, we owe it to his family and friends to carry on his legacy by emulating what he did in life and that's simply keeping the people that we serve safe," Johnson said in his testimony.

"We have an obligation to the citizens that we serve to help keep them safe," Johnson elaborated at a news conference. "And you know, it's just time that we stop talking about this stuff and do something about it."

Two prominent Chicago religious leaders also traveled to Springfield Wednesday to show their support for the legislation. Cardinal Blase Cupich urged lawmakers to adopt restrictions on assault weapons, referencing the teenage Florida school shooting survivors who have since issued a nationwide call for reform.

"The youth of our nation are shaming the adult world into action," Cupich said at a news conference.

Father Michael Pfleger from St. Sabina Church boarded a bus to Springfield with a group of supporters as well, all looking to throw their support behind the new bills.

The measure to license gun dealers, having already passed the Senate last April, will now move to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk for final approval. The rest of the measures will be sent to the Senate for a vote. 

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