HILLSIDE, Ill. -
In the wake of the nation's deadliest acts of domestic terrorism, that left almost 60 people dead and over 500 wounded, state Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, D-Hillside, is calling for passage of gun safety reforms that would oversee the sale of high- powered weapons and ban military-style assault rifles.
"It is devastating every time we learn about a new mass causality event in the news," Welch said. "Too often the weapons that are used in these tragedies are purchased legally through loopholes in our gun laws. While we can't get members of Congress and President Trump to stop this at a federal level, we must act as quickly as possible to stop the sale of dangerous firearms in Illinois."
Welch is a sponsor of House Bill 4107, which would ban military-style assault weapons like those used in the mass shooting in Las Vegas. His measure also bans "bump stock" modifications that the Las Vegas shooter used to turn his semi-automatic rifle into an automatic weapon capable of firing up to 800 bullets per minute.
Military-style assault weapons were not only used in the Las Vegas massacre that resulted in 59 dead and over 500 wounded, but have been used in numerous shootings across the United States, including 49 deaths in last year's Orlando nightclub shooting, 16 deaths in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, and 26 deaths, including 20 children, in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Welch is also highlighting his Senate Bill 1657, which creates the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. This measure would require any entity that engages in the selling, leasing and transferring of firearms to be licensed with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Responsibility (IDFPR). If entities or dealers fail to register or refuse to do so, the bill details appropriate repercussions on them. Welch believes this measure will promote safer and responsible sales of firearms and provide a barrier for those who seek to illegally obtain and sell guns.
"Illinois could have been the face of this mindless attack, and now we have an opportunity to lead the charge and pass statewide reforms that will keep our communities safe," Welch said. "I urge all of my colleagues, to have an honest and frank discussion about what we can do to protect our fellow citizens without the gun lobby getting in the way. We can and must do better."