Gun-rights advocate questions constitutionality of Morrison's pending legislation
A bill sponsored by state Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that would restrict the use of assault weapons is problematic, not only for being vague, but for abridging gun owners’ rights, according to gun lobbyist Todd Vandermyde.
“The Second Amendment protects modern firearms just as the First protects the internet, TV and radio,” he said during an interview with the Prairie State Wire. “Semi-auto firearms have been around for over a century. Semi-automatic firearms are easier for women to shoot and control, and are the overwhelming favorite of shooters. There is no logical reason to ban them.”
Up for re-election this fall, Morrison co-sponsored several anti-gun bills, including HB 1467, which would allow local governments to apply tighter regulations to assault weapons than the state, including banning them. Although Morrison has had a strong gun-control record, she became a vocal supporter of the bill after February’s deadly shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Ballotpedia.org reported that the National Rifle Association gave Morrison a grade of F for her pro-gun-control stance.
"Do we have to wait until a Parkland happens in Illinois for us to take action or for us to take ownership of it," Morrison said in a quote on Illinois.com. "There is no reason for anyone to have an assault weapon. There just isn’t. It’s a military-grade gun. It is not used for protection. It is not used for hunting.”
But Vandermyde took issue with Morrison’s characterization of assault weapons.
“Anti-gun people continue to demonize modern sporting rifles with terms (and) rhetoric because they can’t have an honest debate about the issue,” he said. “It bothers them that so many people choose to own these average semi-automatic rifles.”
This year, Morrison has backed a number of other gun control bills besides the one allowing local assault-weapon bans. She has pushed for a 72-hour waiting period for assault weapons, an increase from 18 to 21 as the minimum age to own an assault rifle, and to prohibit bump stocks, a modification that allows a gun to fire ammunition more rapidly.
“The reason (bump stocks) exist is that they are a workaround for the regulations of fully automatic firearms/machine guns,” Vandermyde said. “A prohibition of bump stocks is a feel-good idea that tries to address a symptom, and fails to fix the underlying problems and causes of crime, and certainly does not address the gaps in law enforcement when people are reported and they fail to heed or act.”
As for increasing the age of ownership for assault rifles, Vandermyde questioned whether it respects constitutional rights.
“It would seem that if you are old enough to marry, have kids, vote, and join the military and get sent to combat, then you should be able to buy a rifle or shotgun,” he said. “For those that live on their own, you would be denying them the means of self-defense. How is that fair?”