can accept more than 10 bullets. Also on the list: semiautomatic rifles that
accept detachable magazines and have one of three other characteristics, such
as a pistol grip or thumbhole stock.
National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde told lawmakers the bill would restrict about 75 percent of handguns and 50 percent of long guns in circulation today. He also said it would treat law-abiding gun owners like criminals, and is in conflict with Second Amendment rights upheld by the courts.
"I've never seen a piece of legislation that tramples on so many court decisions," Vandermyde said.
When asked how a ban on assault weapons would keep them off the street, when a Chicago ban on handguns wasn't able to keep handguns off the streets of Chicago, Munoz said: "You can never be 100 percent, but we're hoping that by having that ban, at least in our state, it's a start."
The measures sponsored by Munoz and Kotowski cleared the Senate's Public Health Committee on Wednesday night and now go to the Senate floor for a vote. The votes in the committee were along party lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed. There are no metro-east senators on the committee.
McCarter vowed to oppose the ban.
"I will do everything in my power, including my vote, to protect the Second Amendment," McCarter said. "Criminals will always have access to guns. Law-abiding citizens need every opportunity to protect themselves, their families and their property from those who would seek to harm them."
Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who is a sponsor of the gay marriage bill, said she expects it to be called for a vote Thursday.
Members of Illinois religious groups -- from Catholic to Muslim -- have sent every state lawmaker a letter calling gay marriage "dangerous" to religious freedom.
The letter sent Wednesday is signed or supported by leaders of more than 1,700 churches, congregations and faith groups.
The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville, is one of a dozen religious leaders who signed the letter by name.
Proponents of the legislation say it would legalize civil marriage. Religious organizations would not have to recognize the civil marriages.
But the letter says religious freedom extends beyond the house of worship. A law would "compel" faith groups to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of traditional marriage.
The letter states: "The ongoing attempts to alter the definition of marriage in civil law are full of serious danger, primarily by degrading the cultural understanding of marriage to an emotional bond between any two adults and by giving rise to a profound interference with the exercise of religious freedom for those persons and religious institutions whose faith and doctrine recognize the spiritual foundation of marriage as an authorized union between a man and a woman."
Proponents of gay marriage also are lining up support. Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who is openly gay and stars on the ABC show "Modern Family," planned to lobby Thursday in Springfield in support of gay marriage. Other supporters include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Three of the metro-east's four senators are likely to vote against gay marriage. Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, voted against civil unions in 2010, and also voted Wednesday against a procedural measure that would have attached the gay-marriage language to existing legislation.
Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, and McCarter also voted against civil unions in 2010. Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, who is the Senate Majority Leader, voted in favor of civil unions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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