Illinois House passes assault weapons ban, advances to Senate

Friday, January 6, 2023
Illinois Senate working on tight deadline to pass assault weapon ban
The Illinois Senate was poised to take up the bill this morning, but lawmakers wanted more time to review it before the noon adjournment. The bill must pass both chambers by Wednes

SPRINGFIELD Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois House passed a modified ban on high-powered weapons and large-capacity magazines early Friday.

The assault weapons legislation quickly advanced to the full House and after late-night debate passed on a 64-43 vote.

The bill would ban the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines with more than 12 rounds. Anyone in possession of those magazines would have 90 days to convert, dispose or sell them. Those who already own the assault-style weapons would be grandfathered in, but have 300 days to enter the serial number of those weapons into the FOID system.

A spokesperson for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon said, "These are critically important issues, and the Senate Democratic Caucus is committed to enacting the most effective legislation possible.

"Senators are giving these proposals an extensive review and careful evaluation.

"Following today's session, the Senate will be returning to session on Sunday."

If the Senate makes modifications to the bill, those would then require approval from the House. Lawmakers have until Wednesday morning to pass the bill and send it to Governor JB Pritzker to sign; their inauguration is at noon.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act was created in response to the Highland Park mass shooting.

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

In addition, the bill would create a prohibition and criminal penalties for devices which turn semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatic guns.

A statewide strike team would also be created at the Illinois State Police, in concert with the DOJ and the ATF to combat the flow of illegal guns across state lines into Illinois.

The bill also extends the duration of a Firearm Restraining Order from six months to up to a year, including renewal FROs.

The tweaked bill removed the raising the age to get a FOID card from 18 to 21.

The lead sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Bob Morgan, who was at the parade in Highland Park, said this is a monumental step.

"Any individual or family or community that has experienced gun violence understands what it means and the trauma and the ripple effect in their lives and their families and their futures," Morgan said. "This will save many, many lives. The states that have adopted assault weapon bans and high capacity magazine bans have seen a drop in gun deaths and gun violence."

Republican opponents said the bill bans many firearms commonly used for hunting and sport shooting and it even takes away the ability of people to protect themselves and punishes legal gun owners.

"This is the people that are going to be forced to give up their magazines and register their guns are legal, lawful owners who have gone through the process of obtaining a FOID card and/or concealed carry license," Republican Rep. Dan Caulkins said. "They're not criminals."

Caulkins said if this bill is passed, his party plans to go to court immediately, calling it unconstitutional.

Gov. JB Pritzker, who was in attendance, released a statement after the vote saying in part, "The people of Illinois send us to Springfield to tackle tough issues and these bills are historic steps in the right direction. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Illinois Senate to get bills addressing these issues to my desk so I can sign them as soon as possible."

In a statement, the Illinois State Rifle Association said,

"'The Illinois General Assembly is working to pass a bill that the law-abiding gun owners across the state will fear, but criminals will ignore, as they already do to the dozens of laws already on the books,' said Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. 'What is most alarming is the impact this will happen on police departments as they try to determine how to implement this law on their law-abiding constituents,' Pearson added.

"Pearson echoed the concerns and the alarm felt by ISRA members and the thousands of other FOID card-carrying individuals across the state who rely on their firearms for safety.

"Our members, concerned citizens, and members of the law enforcement community are being urged to call their senators in their Springfield offices to have their voices heard on SB 2226 HA2.

"Should the bill pass the Senate and be signed into law, the ISRA will work with other groups and concerned citizens across the state who put their personal safety first and will advocate for repeal in the next session of the Illinois General Assembly as well as consider litigation on what many believe is a constitutionally flawed bill.

"'A comprehensive bill targeting the weapon but not the individual who is committing a crime with them is doomed to failure,' said Terry Kreimeier, retired Will County Sheriff Deputy. 'Illinoisans want bills that disarm those who should not have firearms, not those who have trained, have complied with all laws, and are state approved to have them.'"