Illinois Enacts Ban on Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines

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On Tuesday night, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democratic governor of Illinois, signed off on Tuesday night on a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the state. The “Protect Illinois Communities Act” amendment that is the ban is actually an amendment to Illinois House Bill 557 is the source of the ban. It prohibits the sale, purchase, and possession of “assault-style” weapons such as AR-15 and AK-47 rifles. Long gun magazines will be restricted to 10 rounds and handguns have a maximum 15-round limit. It also bans the possession and use of devices that increase the firing rates of a semi-automatic weapons.

CBS Chicago reports that Illinois residents who have guns on the banned list are allowed to keep them. They can also use them at gun ranges and in designated hunting areas. Gun owners who are “grandfathered in” must register their guns with the Illinois State Police. This bill speeds up universal background checks, but it does not alter the age requirement for Firearm Owner ID cards.

The bill was passed by the state Senate on Monday after five days of discussion. It was approved by the House on Tuesday with a vote of 68 to 41. It was signed by Pritzker, who then sent it to the desk. The bill took effect immediately. Pritzker referred to the shooting that occurred at the Highland Park parade on July 4, which resulted in seven deaths and 36 injuries, including one child aged 2. Pritzker stated that the NRA had “held the nation and the state hostage” during the shooting incident. He said:

Nearly every mass shooting has seen attempts to ban dangerous weapons fail. Leaders send their thoughts and prayers while they hold their hands high, resigning to the notion that gun violence is an unacceptable sacrifice. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Not all are on board. CBS reported that Patrick Windhorst, a state representative (Republican from the 118th District), stated that lawbreakers wouldn’t register their guns or turn their magazines in. He also said that only law-abiding gun owners will be affected. Blaine Wilhour, a state representative from the 107th district, stated that people won’t comply because the law, Constitution, and founding principles are on our side.

Others predicted lawsuits.

The federal government’s inability to perform background checks has been demonstrated. According to the Chicago Tribune, 797 people were killed and 695 were shot last year in 2021. As of Jan. 11, 2023, saw 10 homicides. 636 of the 636 incidents in 2022 involved guns. I am willing to bet that those responsible for those crimes, and others who will inflict similar crimes in 2023, didn’t or will not have the intention of gathering their high-capacity magazines as well as “assault-style weapons” and applying for Firearm Owner IDs.

Having been shot at once by a man who was having a shall we say, negative pharmaceutical experience, I understand that there are people who should not be within ten city blocks of a gun. But a ban that will by and large only impact people who obey the law in the first place probably will not solve Illinois’ problems.