Illinois gun laws 2023: Lawmakers push to pass assault weapons ban in final days of general assembly

Religious leaders in Chicago call for General Assembly to pass Protect Illinois Communities Act

Wednesday, January 4, 2023
IL lawmakers push to pass assault weapons ban in final days of general assembly
The bill, unveiled last month, was borne out of the Highland Park shooting on July 4th.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The General Assembly is back in Springfield Wednesday and are expected to wrap up their work on the legislation banning assault weapons, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act.

The final five days began with an intense period of lobbying.

The inter-faith leaders gathered at Good Hope Free Will Baptist Church on the West Side to show their support.

The press conference took place blocks from a mass shooting that took place in October where 14 people were injured and one person died.

"What high-capacity magazines do is turn they turn guns into hand-held killing machines," Reverend Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Church said. "No place in a civil society.

Illinois lawmakers hear testimony on assault weapon ban legislation

"People her on this alter helped me in dark times this past summer so I am honored to stand here today," Rabbi Ike Serotta of Makom Solel Lakeside Highland Park said. "There is no doubt that if we can save a live, just one, a tradition says we can save a whole world."

The bill, unveiled last month, was borne out of the Highland Park shooting on July 4. For many of those who were at the parade six months ago, getting the bill passed has become a personal crusade.

"It is such a huge, grand thing. It's incomprehensible even having been through it," said Shane Selig, a Highland Park resident.

"For me, activism has been a huge part of therapy. Getting involved in trying to make change has been something that has help me to take control," said Ashley Beasley.

Beasley and 16-year-old Stephanie Diaz are among those who will be getting on a bus to the state capitol Thursday, where they will rally and meet with legislators.

"Since the age of five, I've been learn to duck under desks, turn off the lights, lock the door," said Diaz, who is a junior at Highland Park High School.

In addition to banning assault-style weapons, if approved and signed into law, the bill would increase the age to own a FOID card from 18 to 21 and, set 10 as the limit of rounds per magazine.

Gun rights advocates believe the bill is unconstitutional, and are already gearing up for a fight.

"I don't think we lack morals here. We don't sell to criminals. We're equipping the law-abiding with the tools, the knowledge and the training to defende themselves," said Dan Eldridge, the owner of Maxon Shooter's Supplies. "We've retained local counsel and we're ready to go immediately to federal court if this thing is signed into law."

The Springfield-bound bus is scheduled to depart from this Highland Park Jewel at 8 a.m. Thursday with two others. One from Evanston and one from Chicago's South Side also heading to the state capitol to lobby for the bill.Local religious leaders gathered in Chicago to urge Illinois lawmakers to ban assault weapons.

The lame-duck session lasts through January 10. The new General Assembly is sworn in on January 11.