The Illinois General Assembly moved closer to a so-called “assault weapon” ban when the state House of Representatives passed the Protecting Illinois Communities Act on a vote of 64-43.
HB 5855 is now headed to the State Senate as SB 2226, where it is expected to pass before going to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has supported the legislation and is expected to sign it into law. Gun rights advocates vowed to continue their fight against the proposed law that the president of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) calls “blatantly illegal.”
According to an alert on the ISRA website, the Senate version of the bill SB 2226 could pass before Jan. 9.
“Call your State Senator immediately, at their Springfield office, and tell them you oppose SB2226,” the alert reads.
ISRA President Doug Mayhall, said his organization would sue if the bill is signed into law.
“We are definitely doing that,” Mayhall told The Epoch Times.
In the State House, the bill was sponsored by State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-58th District). The version that passed would ban so-called assault weapons along with magazines that hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition. The law was changed slightly before the vote. A provision to raise the age for receiving a Firearms Owner Identification Card from 18 to 21 was removed.
It would “tighten regulations to prohibit rapid-fire devices turning weapons into fully automatic guns.” These devices, sometimes called “switches,” are already illegal under federal law.
The bill calls for an anti-gun trafficking strike force in the Illinois State Police. Currently legal weapons would have to be surrendered or registered with the state and pay a fee. Mayhall said law-abiding citizens should not have to register legally-owned firearms because the Second Amendment protects firearms ownership.
Mayhall said registration only serves one purpose.
“Registration always turns into confiscation,” Mayhall said.
Law Has ‘Red Flag’ Provision
The new law would also expand Illinois’s Firearms Restraining Order (FRO) law. It would extend the life of a FRO from six months to one year and expands the pool of persons who could ask the court for a FRO.
“It would change from a family member (to request a FRO) and opens it up to anyone,” Mayhall said. “If you don’t like my political views, you could unfairly give me a lot of grief.”
Information about the bill can be found on Morgan’s webpage. On the webpage, Morgan wrote that the legislation aligns with his promise to reduce gun violence in the state.
“After the July 4th mass shooting, I made our community, and our state, a promise that I would do everything in my power to prevent this tragedy from happening again,” Morgan’s website reads.
In that shooting, a 22-year-old man opened fire during a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Ill. He reportedly killed seven people and wounded dozens more. He is currently facing more than 117 charges, including 21 counts of murder. Morgan did not explain how his law would have prevented that shooting.
GOA Calls For Action
Virginia-based Gun Owners of America (GOA) previously posted an alert on its website calling on Illinois gun owners to take action. GOA’s statement warns that the restrictions could harm lawful gun owners and their families.
“Banning (guns) will only prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing the best firearm to defend themselves. Not to mention, the requirement to register currently owned firearms is vehemently unconstitutional,” the GOA statement reads.
Mayhall agreed. He said the description of weapons to be banned is vague and could cover commonly used hunting rifles and shotguns. In addition, he took issue with the claim that so-called assault weapons are uncommon.
Six states and Washington, DC, currently have assault weapons bans. States with bans are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Maryland.
“They want to ban the AR-15; it’s the most common sporting rifle in the U.S.,” Mayhall said.