Gun Ban Would Hurt Illinois Economy, Critics Say

July 7, 2008 - 7:05 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Several Illinois-based gun manufacturers are mobilizing opposition to a bill dubbed the "Blagojevich Assault Weapons Ban."

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley are pushing the bill (HB2414) that would prohibit the "manufacture, delivery, and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, 50 caliber rifles, and 50 caliber cartridges" in the state.

The bill also would ban "large-capacity" ammunition feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Anyone owning such a magazine, belt, drum, or similar device would be required to destroy it or surrender it to a law enforcement agency within 90 days of the law taking effect.

Second Amendment supporters say the bill is designed to stop a major hunting/fishing retailer, Cabela's, from opening a superstore in suburban Chicago.

Several Illinois-based manufacturers of sporting arms plan to hold a press conference on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the bill. Among other things, they will emphasize the bill's adverse effect on the Illinois economy - a direct loss of more than 750 jobs and $150 million in manufacturing sales, the gun makers say.

Even firearms manufacturers not located in Illinois would experience a ripple effect on their retail sales, critics warn.

The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) has accused Blagovevich and Daley of trying to end private gun ownership in the state by thwarting the lawful retail sale of firearms.

The Nebraska-based Cabela's recently announced plans to build a superstore in Hoffman Estates, northwest of Chicago. The store would employ 400 people and feature a wide variety of sports and outdoor gear. The retail sale of firearms would be a major component of its business, ISRA said.

ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson noted that the village of Hoffman Estates has worked for three years to bring Cabela's to town - even repealing a local gun registration ordinance.

"Hoffman Estates jumped ship, and Daley won't stand for that. This is yet another example of Mayor Daley looking to extend his power and control beyond Chicago's city limits," Pearson said earlier this month.

If the ban on retail gun sales becomes law, "it just wouldn't pay to stay in the retail firearms business -- and that's precisely the intent of this legislation," Pearson said.

Even if the bill passes the Illinois House, it probably would not pass the Senate, the Chicago-Sun Times quoted Illinois Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) as saying on Monday.

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