Illinois gun manufacturers could be affected by weapons ban

2012-12-22T19:00:00Z 2012-12-26T09:22:53Z Illinois gun manufacturers could be affected by weapons banKurt Erickson |
December 22, 2012 7:00 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn’s push to ban semiautomatic weapons is again raising questions about the loss of manufacturing jobs in western Illinois.

A handful of gun manufacturers clustered near the Quad-Cities have threatened to leave the state when previous attempts to ban so-called assault weapons were floated by the governor, his predecessor or individual lawmakers.

Since 2008, however, only one of five companies has left the state. Les Baer Customs, which had about two dozen employs, crossed the Mississippi from its Hillsdale location and settled in LeClaire, Iowa.

Mark Westrom, owner of Geneseo-based ArmaLite, said the manufacturers are still developing a strategy to deal with the latest calls for a ban on the state and national level.

“We’re considering our actions,” Westrom told the Lee Enterprises Springfield Bureau

The murder of 20 students and six staff at a Connecticut grade school Friday launched a national discussion about semiautomatic weapons, including a call by Quinn to get rid of them in Illinois.

The Chicago Democrat doesn’t want to ban the manufacture of the guns. Rather, he wants to stop the sale of the weapons to civilians.

“There is no place in Illinois for weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range,” spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “A statewide ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines is good public safety policy that would help prevent future tragic incidents in Illinois.”

But, prior attempts have bogged down in Springfield over issues of the Second Amendment and the potential loss of jobs.

Gun makers in Illinois account for several hundred jobs, including 70 at ArmaLite, which makes .50-caliber rifles and other weapons.

Westrom said the issue of semiautomatic weapons may be better addressed by Congress and the president. And, he said, there should not be a rush to judgment.

“We don’t even know all of the pieces of the tragedy,” Westrom said.

State Rep. Pat Verschoore, a Milan Democrat, also said Illinois may not have to act if a ban is put in place in Washington D.C.

“I think we should just wait and see what happens on a national level,” Verschoore said.

Westrom also said a debate on how to handle the issue of mentally ill people and guns is needed.

“This is one of those unfortunate situations where an irresponsible or sick individual has caused a huge problem for us,” Westrom said.

Last summer, Quinn tried to use his veto power to ban assault weapons by rewriting a bill that focused on ammunition sales. The legislature overrode his changes.

In addition to ArmaLite, other gun manufacturers based in Illinois include Lewis Machine and Tool of Milan, Rock River Arms of Colona and Springfield Armory of Geneseo.

Although Quinn earlier said he wants the legislature to take up the issue during the upcoming lame duck session in early January, Anderson said last week the issue may take several months to work through.

“A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines would help ensure citizens can go about their lives without the threat of violence,” Anderson said.

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(34) Comments

  1. Poopie Boo Boo
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    Poopie Boo Boo - January 25, 2013 9:54 am
    If I'm Armalite, I'm out of Illinois and moving my business to Texas last week.
  2. rrbpontiac
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    rrbpontiac - December 25, 2012 5:43 pm
    Banning these weapons will help a lot - as long as we are willing to send the troops door to door, illegally searching homes to retrieve the hundreds of thousands that are already out there.
    I mean, we can ask the people to just drop them off, but guessing that is not gonna work. Particularly the criminals; pretty sure they won't do that.

    If no more new rifles are produced that will result in their elimination from the public in about 75 years. When the current ones quit working.

    What we'll end up doing is passing some new laws, which will make us all feel good, but in no way address the problem. We would be much better served if we figure out why the current laws are not working, and fix our enforcement procedures. Also - determine the mental health causes for the horrible acts of violence and develop a system to work on them. We must include a system that puts someone prone to these types of acts in a locked hospital and treats them. They get out once the risk is reduced...we already have similar systems to deal with sex offenders (civil commitment)..
  3. layla
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    layla - December 25, 2012 1:45 pm
    To shoot children and your mother you obviously have some sort of mental disorder. Maybe we should all just pray, pray, pray and trust GOD that these things will stop happening. Give me a break!
  4. thoughts a million
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    thoughts a million - December 24, 2012 3:40 pm
    One word describes the difference between the USA and Japan/Europe/Canada/Etc.: C-U-L-T-U-R-E.
  5. ThesePeople
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    ThesePeople - December 24, 2012 10:46 am
    Spokesperson Anderson is Naive to think if there is a successful AWB that people can have no fear! Your all speaking out of emotion, not facts!

    Columbine happened during the Last AWB..

    You don't NEED a gun either! Look at Oklahoma City Bombing...

    What about 9/11...

    Crazy people are out there! Face it, disarming the good guys won't do any good!
  6. Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor
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    Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor - December 23, 2012 6:55 pm
    Why do you and others keep on referencing hunting ("kill your prey") when the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting?

    Second, us supporters of the 2nd Amendment really aren't in much mood to "negotiate regulations" because that's a code phrase you use for "enact more bans." You and the other gun-grabbers aren't coming to the table to negotiate anything. You're going to show up with your list of demands, and even if the majority of Americans tell you NO then you are going to whine about how "your guns are more important than human lives" and other hyperbole. You have no concept that things you propose might be things that the bulk of people don't support, or are things that are flat-out wrong. All you start with is the idea in your head that you are right, the opposition is wrong, and that anyone who dares be against you needs to shut up and go away because they enjoy dead children, or something like that.
  7. MarlandS
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    MarlandS - December 23, 2012 6:38 pm
    He reportedly had Aspergers and his mother had been telling him she was putting him in a home so she could move on with her life . if that's all true don't you think he would have had some mental illness ?

    I say "if" because NONE of us can trust the media anymore . just look at the on the scene reports that the rifle was in the trunk and later reports are saying that's what he used ..
  8. 44dana
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    44dana - December 23, 2012 6:21 pm
    @ THE HUNK duh there are more cars on the streets then guns in use. The way you make it sound you are fine if you get killed by someone that’s drinking and driving. You missed the whole point and should not be in this discussion if you missed that point about dui’s
  9. 44dana
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    44dana - December 23, 2012 6:20 pm
    @ THE HUNK duh there are more cars on the streets then guns in use. The way you make it sound you are fine if you get killed by someone that’s drinking and driving. You missed the whole point and should not be in this discussion if you missed that point about dui’s
  10. MWA
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    MWA - December 23, 2012 6:02 pm
    Your comments are quite possibly the best on this forum, Only In America. I recently returned to live in my home state of Illinois after twenty years in AZ and have taken the AZ CCP course and qualified on an AZ range. My valid AZ CCP is not recognized nor honored by only one state- Illinois. Maybe the Judges of the 7th Federal Judicial Circuit will change that within the next six months.
  11. MWA
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    MWA - December 23, 2012 5:52 pm
    You are correct Mr. Snow. It was sold. And I say that when the Merwin family owned it it was a reputable newspaper.
  12. The Hunk
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    The Hunk - December 23, 2012 5:14 pm
    There are more cars on the street everyday than there are guns in usage every day, so naturally there will be more deaths by cars. Nice try gunnies, but that argument does not hold up. Im just glad that your guns are more important than human lives are. You show your true colors every day but not being willing to even negotiate regulations. We understand that you should be able to have guns, just not all guns. If you need more than 10 shots to kill your prey, you probably shouldnt have an FOID card anyways and you need to practice shooting more.
  13. fatboy
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    fatboy - December 23, 2012 3:10 pm
    one person is killed every half hour by a drunk driver. each year approx. 16, 000 people are killed in alcohol related crashes. alcohol is responsible for almost half of all traffic fatalities. so should we bring back prohibition, or outlaw certain vehicles, or maybe all vehicles, or revoke everyones driver licenses. how would this be fair to law abiding would this effect the would this effect unemployment.we need to apply the same mentality to the gun topic.lets better enforce our current gun laws.lets look take a harder look at the mentally ill and quit punishing law abiding gun owners.
  14. Normal50
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    Normal50 - December 23, 2012 2:28 pm

    Why do people keep talking about mental illness? The individual that did this was supposedly jealous of these kids because he felt like his mother loved them more than him?

    So, what mental illness is that? Depression? Psychosis? Or can we just call it what it really is? Sin and evil.

  15. fatboy
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    fatboy - December 23, 2012 1:46 pm
    quin and his anti-2nd amendment chicago thugs should not get away with blaming the actions of a few mentally ill criminals on law abiding citizens. while there at it why not just trash the entire 2nd amendment.look at all the people killed by drunk drivers every year. maybe they should take every ones drivers licenses away and shut down all the car makers. a 3000 lb car is every bit as dangerous as an automatic weopon.
  16. RetiredMilitary
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    RetiredMilitary - December 23, 2012 1:31 pm
    Only irrational knee jerk people I know, are all liberals!
  17. Chadwick Snow
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    Chadwick Snow - December 23, 2012 12:09 pm
    How do you explain the data in Japan and in Europe where firearm restrictions are stringent and the per capita number of homicides is barely a fraction of what they are in the U.S?
  18. joe smoe
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    joe smoe - December 23, 2012 11:44 am
    Don't take my word for, read the Harvard Law Review's take:

    Once again, if more guns equal more death and fewer guns
    equal less death, areas within nations with higher gun ownership
    should in general have more murders than those with
    less gun ownership in a similar area. But, in fact, the reverse
    pattern prevails in Canada, England, America, and Switzerland,
    [where the areas] with the highest rates of gun ownership
    were in fact those with the lowest rates of violence.”
  19. joe smoe
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    joe smoe - December 23, 2012 11:26 am
    How does allowing criminals to have guns and disallowing law abiding citizens from having them make any of us any safer? If you can answer that question, I'll gladly give up my gun.
  20. 12for10cents
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    12for10cents - December 23, 2012 10:56 am
    Maybe it will stop state senators from getting on planes with them. Well, no it wouldn't. The law does not apply to lawmakers, only their subjects.
  21. 12for10cents
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    12for10cents - December 23, 2012 10:55 am
    Just go ahead and do it, just trash the whole Constitution. It's proven to about as useless as a box of wet kleenex. Well except for the super important commerce clauses, can't stop forcing the peasents to hand over hard earned wages to support their obviously better superiors. At least it'll finally be quiet when all the fools lose their right to free speech.
  22. jak812
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    jak812 - December 23, 2012 10:41 am
    Oh thank god, banning them will take them off the streets, hey Quinn I'd love to see you personally take them away from gangs.
  23. Chadwick Snow
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    Chadwick Snow - December 23, 2012 10:12 am
    The Merwin family hasn't managed the Pantagraph since it was sold decades ago.
  24. iwftcfsitc
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    iwftcfsitc - December 23, 2012 8:48 am
    I was with you when you said "Nothing wrong with guns." You lost me at "Just certain types of them." There's nothing wrong with any type of gun; it's the person behind the weapon we need to be worried about instead. Any gun in the wrong hands will wreak havoc. Just look at the Pennsylvania shooting yesterday -- he used a pistol to kill his neighbors, then fired it at police. That wasn't an assault rifle. That was clearly a troubled individual that had a gun in his hand. I'm not saying I have a proposal, but let's find a way to control who purchases weapons, not the types of weapons available. Illinois admitted there are tons of people with mental issues that still have FOIDs. Let's target them first.

    I'm not a gun owner myself, but I have friends that own them, including an AR. I've sat in a field with the AR shooting at paper targets as a hobby. I'm not killing anything or hurting anyone. This "certain type" of gun is a fun hobby, and we use it responsibly. As the guy in the article mentioned, the acts of two affect the other millions of people in the US.... that's not right.
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    ONLY IN AMERICA - December 23, 2012 8:48 am
    Quinn the clown is an idiot....... He is an elected governor not Illinois's dictator who can decide who owns guns because HE doesn't think a person shouldn't have one. Who is he to say I can't ??? Dictator Quinn and his liberal democrat friends do not stand to protect the rights of law abiding citizens like myself and millions of others who ALREADY own such guns who haven't done anything wrong. Millions of us follow the laws and will always do so. You can't just ban something for the law abiding majority because of criminals who refuse to follow the law had one. The good outweighs the bad.

    Anti-gunners love to trample citizens rights. I and many other people are tired of those who push their agenda because they think they " know better " than everybody else including our country's framers who gave me the right to own guns of my choosing.

    As a police officer I have a use for such a gun and as a citizen I also have the same right to use for such a gun. People cannot tell me that just because a gun looks a certain way or holds a certain amount of ammunition I cannot have any use for such a gun. Law abiding citizens do not have to put up with the current anti-gun, anti rights law makers who see fit to deny people they are supposed to represent freedoms given under the United States Constitution.

    Illinois continues to fight against concealed carry rulings and is the ONLY state in America that denies law abiding citizens the RIGHT to protect themselves against armed criminals who will never respect the laws of our great nation. The majority of police officers support such rights.

    The mall shooter who killed two people recently was denied further access to the mall by a armed concealed carry citizen who took a stand. The citizen took cover and "drew down" on the murderer who saw this at which time the murderer then turned around went down a hallway and killed himself instead of being killed by an armed citizen who stood his ground and protected innocent people.

    There are thousands of stories like this which are never told because the liberal media who push their anti-gun agendas refuse to report the true and total story. As a law abiding citizen and taxpayer of Illinois I do not want my tax dollars spent on fighting the right for citizens to carry concealed weapons to protect themselves and family against criminals. Illinois does not have the money to keep spending and spending in fighting a loosing battle such as denying second amendment rights to those who are unfortunate enough to live in such a messed up state.

  26. exrepub
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    exrepub - December 23, 2012 6:48 am
    Actually I saw some statistics that show it does. Besides no one wants to ban firearms. Why do irrational people use irrational arguments to keep irrational items? I guess this would be a good time for the teaparty to take us back to the 1700s like they try sometimes. We could all handle those weapons couldn't we? I wonder how some would change their tune if they had to deal with someone attacking them or their families especially their children or grandchilden with an assault rifle? Or a whole pile of them all loaded and ready to fire. I believe we have a much bigger problem losing rights economically than we do with someone taking our guns or even invading ourhomes with guns. People that try to buy influence don't go near guns. And then use stuff like peoples obsessions with guns to do it.
  27. exrepub
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    exrepub - December 23, 2012 6:41 am
    I can tell you are not prepared to listen if one told you. What is the proven nonproblem?
  28. exrepub
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    exrepub - December 23, 2012 6:40 am
    We do have specific laws against cars like speed limits and you don't stand in the middle of the street when a car is coming. And we have certain places to drive a car too. I imagine a lot of inventions for cars have been squelched. If they wanted they could make it go 150-25- mph. Nothing wrong with guns. Just certain types of them. I guess it would be okay to make one take a license test every few years to see if they can shoot and handle a gun responsibility. like they do for cars and when you can no longer drive responsibility they take away the car. Actually cars are a good analogy. The problem we have now is 1. irrational people get guns and 2. no one needs the type of guns being invented and sold.. Most irrational people don't get drivers license and 2. we keep a handle on the cars invented.
  29. StreetGlide
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    StreetGlide - December 22, 2012 11:54 pm You forget this one. Employs 350-400 in Princeton, Illinois.
  30. Swthart81
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    Swthart81 - December 22, 2012 9:54 pm
    About time Quinn did something positive!
  31. BAXTER
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    BAXTER - December 22, 2012 9:46 pm
    Ok Mr. Quinn Lets stop cars being made that kill, Also ban the bars that serve drinks so that our children don't get killed on the roads, also ban all those other products made that have killed innocent people such as our drugs our Doctors give us and kills. Or just ban doctors all together. ....... Mr Rogers
  32. basha
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    basha - December 22, 2012 8:32 pm
    Seems that our Governer is falling in line with the rest of the moron politicians and forgetting that he has a much more important job to do than piddle away time and energy on something that is truly a proven non-problem. For the leader of a bankrupt state to be diverting his attention to something like this only highlights that we are putting the wrong people in leadership roles, for the wrong reasons and at the wrong times. What is his concern? That people might just be able to be trusted and the crooks ( in this state, most politicians) cannot be identified and disarmed?
  33. MWA
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    MWA - December 22, 2012 8:05 pm
    Shall we start the comments by asking the Pantagraph why this article is listed three (3) times on the newspaper's homepage? It used to be a newspaper when the Merwin family ran it several years ago.
  34. The Patriot
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    The Patriot - December 22, 2012 8:02 pm
    pull your heads out of the sand. check the statistics worldwide. banning firearms does not make us safer.
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