After the Illinois House approved a sweeping piece of legislation that would ban assault weapons statewide, the Illinois Senate is slated to vote on the bill on Sunday, hoping to send the bill to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk where it is expected to pass.
The House voted 64-to-43 in favor of the Protect Illinois Communities Act, a 77-page bill that serves as a legislative response to the tragic shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park last year that left seven people dead and dozens others injured.
Former Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin voted in favor of the legislation.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Highland Park representative Bob Morgan — who was an eyewitness to the Highland Park parade shooting — said it “filled his heart” to see supporters gathered in the lobby of the State Capitol.
Prior to the vote, a report from the Chicago Sun-Times noted that a handful of changes were made to the bill — originally known in its first draft as HB5855 — including allowing the legal age of gun ownership to remain at 18, and adjusting the high-capacity magazine ban to kick in at 12 rounds instead of 10.
The legislation would make it illegal to deliver, sell or purchase any assault weapon in the state of Illinois. It would also make it illegal to possess such a weapon 300 days after the final passage of the bill.
A full list of weapons classified as “assault weapons” can be found within the text of the bill.
The bill also makes it illegal to own, purchase or possess .50 caliber rifles and cartridges, but there is language in the bill that allows owners who currently have such weapons to keep them.
Individuals who already own weapons that fall under the “assault weapons” are required to note the serial number with their pre-owned weapons with the gun owner’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) card. This process must take place with the Illinois State Police within 300 days after final passage of the bill.
Residents also many not purchase or possess magazines that can hold more than 12 rounds, and the bill also bans the sale or purchase of “switches,” which can increase a weapon’s rate of fire.
Those switches are technically already banned under federal law.
According to House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, the legislation would not remove guns from people who already own them.
“If this bill were to become law, I want to be clear about something. Because we’re going to probably hear a lot about that in debate later. If this bill were to become law, there will be no removal of these weapons from people who already own them. It’s important to highlight that we are not taking any guns away from lawful gun owners.”
Legislators in the Senate are expected to debate the measure Friday, with the hope that a vote will take place before the 103rd General Assembly is sworn in next week.
“These are critically important issues, and the Senate Democratic Caucus is committed to enacting the most effective legislation possible,” said John Patterson, spokesman for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon. “Senators are giving these proposals an extensive review and careful evaluation. Following today’s session, the Senate will be returning to session on Sunday.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he’ll sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
If the bill does pass, the Illinois State Rifle Association is vowing to sue the state, claiming the measure is unconstitutional and violates their Second Amendment rights.
“The anti-gun people have seized upon this opportunity,” said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. “In the long run they would like to get rid of the Second Amendment all together.”
Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago
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January 7, 2023 at 04:03PM