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Illinois Congressman Targets New Handguns 
Jul. 18, 2000 | 6:56 a.m.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Handguns with the nickname ``pocket rockets''
because of their small size and big firepower are being targeted by an
Illinois congressman who says they should be banned.

Rep. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., said Monday he will introduce a bill in Congress
that will ban the sale of the weapons

``These are new high-tech guns designed specifically for killing people,''
Blagojevich said Monday during a new conference. ``They have no real
sport purpose, and they don't do anything that enhances a gun collector's

Blagojevich said his legislation would target guns less than 7 1/2 inches
long that can hold two or more rounds of ammunition.

Officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms traced 13,681 of
the small guns to crime scenes nationally from 1995 to 1997.

``It appears these are the weapons of choice for the day-to-day
operations of gang members throughout the city and suburban areas
because of their caliber, the capacity and their concealability,'' ATF
spokesman Thomas Ahern said.

In Chicago, where the ownership of any handgun is illegal, police
confiscated 503 of the pocket-sized guns at crime scenes last year,
according to officials.

Chicago police spokesman Pat Camden says anything that would help get
the guns off the street would be welcome.

Blagojevich acknowledged his legislation faces an uphill battle going against
a powerful gun lobby.

AP-CS-07-18-00 0735EDT

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