Illinois Legislators Need to Pass Barbara Wheeler's HB 4120 or Admit That They Suck

Illinois Legislators Need to Pass Barbara Wheeler's HB 4120 or Admit That They Suck

In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, Illinois’ first attempt to outlaw “bump stocks” failed. Perhaps Illinois lawmakers were reluctant to appear sympathetic to the victims of mass shootings.

In a piece I wrote last week entitled, “Guns Don’t Kill People, the NRA and the Politicians in Their Pockets Kill People,” I referred to the failure of Illinois HB 4117. There were some questions which I hope this piece will answer.

Spoiler alert: It’s gong to be a little dry.

We hardly think about the Las Vegas shooting anymore and that’s a little scary.  How is it that the shock of 58 people murdered and 550 more injured by just one man fades after a 72-hour news cycle?

The aftermaths of these events is disturbingly predictable.  Democrats want to do something, anything. Republicans say it’s too soon to talk.

Did you ever hear anyone say that it’s too soon to talk about airline safety after a plane crash? Or accuse anyone pushing for smoke detectors of politicizing a fire?

Three hours after the attack in New York City wasn’t too soon for Donald Trump to demand a change in immigration policy. “Too soon” may be a relative phrase, especially if your relatives are the NRA.

With the best of intentions, State Representative Martin Moylan introduced HB 4117 in the Illinois House, a bill designed to address two of the key elements of the Las Vegas shooting.

One of those elements is the so-called “bump stock,” which allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like a fully automatic weapon. In plain talk, an AR style rifle with a bump stock can fire 100 bullets in about seven seconds with just one trigger pull.

If the target is a deer, it would definitely turn it into pulled venison.

The lesser publicized element of the Las Vegas shooting is the fact that the shooter, Stephen Paddock was in possession of several pounds of explosives.

In his zeal to address these threats, Representative Moylan apparently painted the picture with too broad a brush and the bill was defeated.  Lawmakers didn’t want certain trigger modifications to be confused with bump stocks.

Illinois House Representative Barbara Wheeler has introduced another bill (HB 4120) which may have a better chance of seeing the light of day. Her definition of bump stock is more narrow, hopefully eliminating both confusion and objections.

Stay tuned for updates on Representative Wheeler’s bill.

Speaking of universal background checks (nice segue, huh?), don’t expect that a mass shooting in a church will move lawmakers to step up and heed the call of 90% of their constituents.  It will always be too soon for that.

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