By Alex Fees
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KSDK) - An Illinois Senate committee, in a party-line vote, has approved restrictions on semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
One measure would ban the sale of semiautomatic handguns and rifles. People who currently own such weapons could keep them, but would have to register them.
The second proposal would limit ammunition magazines to 10 or fewer rounds. Sen. Dan Kotowski, the bill's sponsor, says he wants to concentrate on the high-capacity magazines because they make assault weapons more lethal.
Democrats are pushing the gun restrictions in the wake of the school massacre in Connecticut last month.
While National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde says the bills treat law-abiding gun owners like criminals, Kotowski contends those gun owners have nothing to worry about.
Both Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are praising the measure. Quinn said late Wednesday he is very pleased the Public Health Committee took the step.
"There is no place in Illinois for weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range," said Quinn.
In a statement, Emanuel said in order to protect children, families and communities, there is a need for "common-sense laws that provide the residents of our cities with the safety they deserve."
The bills now go to the full Senate.