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Illinois House Passes Several New Gun Safety Measures

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Paul Bauer Act, named in honor of fallen Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, bans the sales of body armor and high-capacity ammunition magazines to anyone other than police officers, security guards, and the military.

Police and prosecutors have said the four-time felon charged with his murder was wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a semi-automatic handgun with an extended clip. The proposal originally was introduced to the General Assembly last year, but has since been amended and renamed the Paul Bauer Act.

The House Judiciary Committee also voted on other gun control measures Wednesday, including:

  • Prohibiting the sale of assault weapons to anyone under the age of 21;
  • Banning bump stocks and other devices that allow guns to fire more rapidly;
  • Requiring mental health screenings and keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses;
  • And a requirement for gun dealers to obtain a state license.

It's the biggest drive for new gun laws Springfield has seen in years. Hundreds of moms rallying, including Mary Kay Mace, who lost her daughter Ryanne in the 2008 Northern Illinois Shooting and, now back new measures to keep guns from the mentally ill.

"That's something that might have stopped the NIU gunman. His family knew he was sick, but they just didn't have the tools available to do something about it," Mace said.

The mothers were joined by Cardinal Blase Cupich, who cited support for action by Bauer's widow and daughter.

"When you have law enforcement coming at these issues saying that by removing high-power magazines, bump stocks, and other measures that can protect them, I find that their voice is very compelling to listen to," Cardinal Cupich said.

The momentum for change was launched by the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Sen. Don Harmon introduced a bill to license gun dealers 15 years ago.

"The shooting at Parkland was different because the kids stood up and started yelling at politicians," he said.

Opponents, however, claim the proposed gun measures represent government overreach, as well as talking points for Democrats in the upcoming elections.

"I think it's shameful they're putting politics in front of policy," Rep. Barbara Wheeler said.

Still, those supporting a bump stock ban, like  Rep. David Harris, said it's time to act. "It is a disgrace that there is not a ban on bump stocks," Harris said.

There are issues to still be addressed. The Bauer Act is being reworked and will be considered as soon as Thursday.

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