Limited Death Penalty, Longer Waiting Period In Rauner's Amendatory Veto for Gun Violence Act

May 15, 2018

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says the state should be able to execute persons convicted of killing police officers or committing mass shootings. He made that proposal among several measures Monday in an amendatory veto message of legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.

The bill, HB1468, would have required anyone buying so-called assault-style weapons to wait 72 hours before picking up their purchase from a gun dealer.

The death penalty was abolished in Illinois in 2011 under Gov. Pat Quinn. Years before, Gov. George Ryan commuted the sentences of all the state’s death-row prisoners after criminal justice advocacy groups exposed a pattern of wrongful convictions.

Rauner says bringing state executions back for certain cases will “dramatically improve public safety.”

“These individuals who commit mass murder, who choose to murder a law enforcement officer," he said at an event in Chicago, "they deserve to have their life taken. They deserve that.”

Rauner also changed the legislation to extend the 72-hour waiting period, which state lawmakers initially approved for assault-style weapon sales, to all gun sales. Among other things, he added a ban on bump stocks and other firing-enhancement devices and a plan that would allow courts to take guns away from persons who are deemed dangerous.

As for the death penalty, Rauner says a jury would have to acknowledge proof “beyond all doubt” that an alleged shooter is guilty before approving the death penalty.

Illinois lawmakers now can vote either to accept the changes Rauner proposed or to try to override the veto altogether. They'll have 15 days to do so once the House formally receives the Governor's veto message.

You can read the full amendatory veto message here.