Gov. JB Pritzker inaugurated for 2nd term as Illinois Senate passes amended assault weapons bill

ByCraig Wall and Christian Piekos WLS logo
Monday, January 9, 2023
Pritzker inaugurated for 2nd term as Senate passes amended assault weapons ban
It's Inauguration Day for Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in Springfield as the state Senate voted to pass its version of an assault weapons ban bill.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated the beginning of his second term with a big bash on Monday night.

He's also celebrating a big with as the Illinois Senate has now approved an assault weapons ban. It came after the governor took the oath of office earlier Monday.

The special guest was Bruno Mars, who performed during the celebration.

The ceremonies began with an interfaith church service at 9 a.m., followed by an inauguration celebration later Monday evening at the State Fairgrounds.

Gov. JB Pritzker was sworn in for a 2nd term Monday.

Pritzker was sworn in to his second term in office just after noon at the Bank of Springfield convention center. In a speech following the inauguration, Pritzker thanked his fellow Illinois legislators and family.

He also hearkened back on accomplishments throughout his last term and remarked on the difficulties the COVID pandemic posed. He shared parts of his future agenda, too.

ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington discusses Governor JB Pritzker's second term as well as an assault weapons bill in the state Senate.

But as Pritzker begins his second term, he can count his lucky stars that an assault weapons bill is one step away from heading to his desk to become law.

"I'm tired of living in a world where a mass shooting needs a title, so you know which one we're referring to," Pritzker said. "When I campaigned for reelection, and promised to pass an assault weapons ban, eight states already had one. Very soon, Illinois must be the ninth."

The Senate took action, passing an amended version of a bill passed by the House late last week. But, it was not without debate.

"But, here we are today. We're gonna make felons out of taxpayers," said Republican State Sen. Chapin Rose.

The Senate bill does make a modification from the bill the House passed on what high-capacity magazines would be banned. For long guns, it would be for those with more than 10 rounds. For handguns, it would be those with more than 15 rounds.

"This will not solve the problem, but this is absolutely a step in the right direction," said Senate President Don Harmon.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised the progress on the bill.

"I haven't read the bill, like I said the devils in the details, but at least in the broad strokes, I think this is significant and important progress," Lightfoot said.

That gun bill will be taken up by the House when it reconvenes Tuesday at noon. The bill got a joint endorsement Monday night from the governor, the House speaker, along with the Senate president.

Besides the gun legislation, Pritzker also casted a vision for the next four years with what he called a bold and ambitious agenda.

"Our long-term ambitions must begin with a focus on the people for whom we are building," Pritzker said.

The governor said one focus will be on making pre-school available all across the state, which drew standing ovation. He got a similar reception with his plans to help with college costs.

"Since I took office, we've increased scholarships by more than 50%. Now, let's focus on making tuition free for every working-class family," Pritzker said.

Also being sworn in Monday are Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton and new Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, replacing Jesse White, who is retiring after 24 years of service to the state.