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Newtown Families Testify at IL Gun Hearing

As the debate over new gun laws continues to rage at the Illinois statehouse, families from Newtown, Conn., offered emotional testimony on a new gun control proposal today.

The legislation is a high-capacity magazine ban, which bans the sale of any magazines over 10 rounds. The bill--SB 1002--was presented in the Senate Executive Committee. The only people testifying on behalf of it were Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski and two parents of Newtown victims.

The parents' testimony had several members of the panel near tears, and focused largely on how often the shooter had to reload. They stated several times that children escaped while he was reloading his 30-round magazines, and they felt if he had 10-round magazines, it would have meant more opportunities for the victims to escape.

"If he had needed to reload more often, how many more children might be alive today from both classrooms?," Nicole Hockley, the mother of a Newtown victim, said. "When many people meet us for the first time, they say there are no words, and that's true. But there are actions, and the Senate must pass Senate Bill 1002, and limit high-capacity magazines in Illinois."

SB1002 passed the committee with a vote of 9-3, but during the debate, Republican Sen. Dale Righter pointed out that it may have one very large hole. It bans only the sale of the magazines in Illinois--not the possession of them.

Chief Sponsor Dan Kotowsky agreed that it would remain legal for residents to drive to another state, purchase magazines of greater than 10-round capacity, and bring them back to Illinois.

SB1002 would not ban the possession of magazines greater than 10-round capacity, and poeple could transfer them to their heirs. It would also be legal to use the magazines at shooting competitions and for hunting. If someone committeed a crime using a high-capacity magazine, they would be eligible for a longer prison sentence.