Illinois House Passes Assault Weapons Ban: Gov Pritzker Releases Statement

The Illinois House passed a modified ban on high-powered weapons and large-capacity magazines early Friday. The late-night debate had the assault weapons legislation pass in the house by a vote of 64-43.

Following the Illinois House of Representatives taking action on several bills today, Governor JB Pritzker issued the following statement.

For months lawmakers and advocates have been hard at work negotiating two very critical pieces of legislation to keep Illinoisans safe. Tonight, with the leadership and support of Speaker Welch, the Illinois House passed critical reproductive health protections and an assault weapons ban. 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.

I’d like to thank Rep. Cassidy for her tireless work to protect reproductive healthcare and Rep. Morgan for his work to get weapons of war off our streets. 

Gun rights groups say they will fight this legislation.

State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, rallied several dozen supporters of a gun ban Thursday.

“We’re talking about banning the sale of assault weapons in the state of Illinois,” Morgan said. “We’re talking about banning the sale of high capacity magazines that are plaguing our communities with gun violence.”

An amendment was then filed to previously passed Senate Bill 2226. House Floor Amendment 2 replaces everything with a new bill to ban certain types of semi-automatic firearms and magazines, among other measures. That sets the bill up for quick passage before the end of lame-duck session Jan. 10.

House Speaker Emanual “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, discussed the bill before it advanced out of committee along party lines late Thursday.

“We are not taking away anyone’s guns, but we will require that the serial numbers on these grandfathered weapons be associated with the owners [Firearm Owner ID] account,” Welch said. “There must be accountability.”

Kourtney Redmond, the Illinois director of the National African American Gun Association, told the committee a gun ban will disproportionately impact his community.

“We want to make it more expensive. We want to make it more trying and we want to restrict the Black community from their rights,” Redmond said. “It’s their right. It’s their Second Amendment right.”

While already owned semi-automatic guns would be required to be registered within 300 days of the bill’s enactment, magazines with more than 12 rounds would have to be modified or disposed of within 90 days. Violations of the magazine prohibition would be a petty offense with a $1,000 fine for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for subsequent violations. Violations of the gun registry would be a penalty of up to a Class 2 felony.

The bill exempts active duty law enforcement for the gun and magazine ban and exempts retired law enforcement from the gun provision, not the magazine ban. There are other exemptions. The measure also extends the firearms restraining order from 6 months to a year.

State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, said he supports going after gun trafficking, something the bill proposes, but he criticized the measure for requiring gun owners to register their semi-automatic firearms.

“I don’t think the majority of gun owners are going to register and I’m not sure who’s going to round them all up,” he said.

Proponents of a gun ban say they don’t want to ban all guns, just semi-automatic guns. Opponents say those are commonly owned firearms and counties across the state likely won’t enforce the measure.

WJOL/Illinois Radio Network