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April 15, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan announced today that the Illinois House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved his "Child Access Prevention" plan to require the safe storage of firearms.

Senate Bill 177 requires that any firearm stored at a home be fitted with a locking system, be placed in a locking container or stored in a secure location if the owner has reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 could get access. The measure passed the House committee on a 10 to 3 vote.

"We know that in Illinois, at least one child is unintentionally killed by gunfire every month, and 91 percent of handguns involved in these shootings came from the home where the shooting occurred," Gov. Ryan said. "Through our commitment to children and safety, we can save lives."

Senate Bill 177 requires parents to be responsible for the safe storage of firearms. Gun owners who improperly store firearms can be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor if a minor under the age of 14 gains access to a firearm without permission and causes injury or death. Parents in violation of the law could receive a minimum fine of $1,000 and could be sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The CAP law does not apply if the minor has a valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card, uses the firearm in the lawful act of self-defense or obtains the firearm by unlawfully entering a residence or the place where the firearm is stored.

Illinois ranks second-highest nationwide in youth gun homicides and would join 16 other states which already have laws regulating the storage of firearms and the use trigger locks to prevent child access.

Senate Bill 177 is sponsored in the House by Rep. James Durkin, R- Westchester; Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago; Rep. Lauren Beth Gash, D-Highland Park; Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie; Rep. Eileen Lyons, R-Western Springs; and Sidney Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove; and in the Senate by Sen. William "Bill" Mahar, R-Orland Park; Sen. Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange; Sen. Terry Link, D-Highwood; Sen. David Sullivan, R-Park Ridge; Sen. William "Bill" Peterson, R-Long Grove; and Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Chicago.


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