Illinois House committee passes assault weapons ban, advances to full House

Illinois assault weapons ban 2023: Proposed law would also increase age to own FOID card

Friday, January 6, 2023
IL House committee passes assault weapons ban, advances to full House
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Gun Safety advocates ramped up the pressure on lawmakers Thursday to pass an assault weapons ban.

SPRINGFIELD Ill. (WLS) -- The full Illinois House is poised to take up historic legislation aimed at curbing mass shootings and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing every corner of the state.

This comes after the House committee passed a newly modified assault weapons ban bill Thursday night.

"The time to act is now. This is our opportunity. This is why we're here," said State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, (D) Illinois House Speaker.

The bill, if it becomes law, would ban the manufacture, sale and possession of dozens of firearms defined by the state as assault weapons.

Already-possessed guns on that list could be kept, but would need to be registered with Illinois State Police within 300 days.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act was created in response to the Highland Park parade tragedy by a survivor and state Rep. Bob Morgan.

"This moment is years in the making," said Morgan, who sponsored the bill. "You have all been activating in advocating and fighting for gun safety legislation for years, and we have never been more close."

Advocates, gun violence survivors along faith leaders and lawmakers joined together Thursday to make it clear that they want to see legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons.

"So my message to every elected official in this room is this: You must vote yes on the full Protect Illinois Communities Act and vote like your lives depend on it," said Rachel Jacoby, with March for Our Lives.

A group of people from Highland Park made their way to Springfield Thursday to push for a proposed law concerning assault weapons.

This comes six months after the Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooting, in which seven were killed and dozens wounded.

Noell Vaughn was with her husband at the Highland Park parade last July when a gunman with an assault weapon opened fire.

"The reason why my husband and I survived is nothing other than luck. And we need more than luck to protect all of us," Vaughn said. "And we need smart laws some common sense laws and that's, that's why I'm here.

This grassroots effort is being led mostly by moms, as some call it a personal crusade.

At 8 a.m., a group headed to Springfield to show support for a proposed law concerning assault-style weapons.

"There is no place for weapons of war on our streets, in our grocery stores in our shopping centers our concert halls our dance clubs our parades 49 our houses of worship, or our schools," added Rabbi Reni Dickman, Ex-VP Chicago Board of Rabbis.

Ashley Beasley is a parade survivor.

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

She was on the buses with other moms Thursday morning to rally and meet with legislators in Springfield.

"For me, activism has been a huge part of therapy. Getting involved in trying to make change has been something that has helped me to take control," Beasley said. "This bill is coming at a critical time when our country is saying that we are done. We are fed up with gun violence. We don't want to live like this anymore."

Despite having supermajorities in the House and Senate, the votes didn't appear to be there for the original bill, so lawmakers had to work on compromise legislation Thursday. They only need a simple majority.

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

"It has an illegal gun trafficking task force in it. It extends the firearm restraining order to 12 months, and it strengthens our ability to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people," said Caryn Fliegler, with Moms Demand Action.

"It crosses the aisle. It's not a Democrat or a Republican issue; it's a human issue. People want to be able to move around safely without fear," said Maria Peterson, with Moms Demand Action.

Some aspects of the law were revised in the House.

Opponents say the measure is too broad, banning many firearms commonly-used for hunting and sport shooting.

"You are turning legal gun owners with this bill into felons," said State Rep. C.D. David Meyer, (R) 100th District.

"No weapon is being taken away in this legislation. Every single firearm that has legally been purchased can be retained," Morgan added.

Gun rights groups said regardless of what form the legislation ultimately takes, they will fight it in court, calling the proposed law unconstitutional.

"Bring it on. That's why we have courts, and the courts are reasonable, and they listen to both sides. They listen to the facts," Peterson said.

Supporters said now is the time for action to reduce mass shootings, and make communities safer.

"I am tired, tired of having to be walking outside and having to be looking back five seconds every single time of the day just to walk to the store, just to drive, just to make sure I'm not being shot from the back," said Lyric Harris, a gun violence survivor.

Three buses left for Springfield Thursday morning.

There was one in Highland Park, one in Evanston and one on the South Side of Chicago.

Highland Park High School student Stephanie Diaz is on the bus Thursday. She said she wants to work at her desk, not hide under it.

"That shouldn't even be an issue. I should be learning. I should be thinking about college ... but instead I'm fearing going to school every day," Diaz said.

If the House can pass a compromise bill Thursday night, the Senate would be able to consider the matter in the morning with the hope of passing something before they adjourn Friday at noon.