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Lawmaker Wants State To End Investments In Gun Companies

Several state lawmakers want Illinois to stop investing in companies that make guns. It's the latest in a series of anti-gun initiatives up for debate in the legislature this spring.

The measures would require Illinois' pension systems to withdraw investments from companies that make firearms or ammunition. One of the plans is sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison.

"I think there's enough other places that we can make money on the pension investments that we don't need to go to something that's as controversial as firearms." - Rep. Kathleen Willis

That angered Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg, in southern Illinois. He's been one of the main backers of allowing people to carry concealed firearms, and called the anti-investment idea "ridiculous."

"That is a $1 billion — with a b — industry in this state: 65 companies, 8,500 jobs in this state, 17,000 indirect jobs." -Rep. Brandon Phelps

The state's five pension systems invest billions of dollars every year on behalf of teachers, state and university workers, lawmakers and judges.

It wouldn't be the first time a lawmaker tried to restrict investments. The pensions systems are already barred from investing in companies that do business with Iran and Sudan.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.

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