Some 12 million Illinois residents now must deal with the fallout from a rushed prohibition on commonly owned firearms and their magazines.
Democrat Gov. Jay Robert “J.B.” Pritzker, a billionaire that Forbes describes as “the richest politician in office in the U.S.” who was backed for office by President Obama and national anti-gun groups, signed an “assault weapon” ban into law on Tuesday, just minutes after it cleared the state legislature.
“For a long time now, I and many other leaders in the Illinois General Assembly have prioritized getting the most dangerous weapons off our state’s streets,” said Pritzker, who was just elected for a second term. “Today, honoring the commitment we made, we passed one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the nation, one I will be proud to sign.”
The measure, HB5471, was originally a proposal to regulate insurance adjusters but was amended in the Assembly’s lame-duck session to include over 110 pages of new gun regulations. Passed Sunday by the state senate, the House swiftly concurred on Monday, sending it to Pritzker’s waiting signature.
The broad strokes of the new law will halt the sale of many common semi-auto firearms by name or cosmetic description, puts a 10-round cap on rifle magazines and a 15-round limit on pistol mags, and requires those who already own the banned guns to register them with the state police by the end of the year. Violators could face up to three years in prison.
“This proposal will create criminals out of law-abiding citizens instead of making the citizens of our state safer and does not take a wholesome approach to address gun violence,” said state Sen. Sue Rezin, a Morris area Republican who voted against HB5471.
“This is the playbook we’ll continue to use across the country.” — Shannon Watts, anti-gun advocate.
Although Everytown, the Bloomberg-funded gun control group, originally soft-pedaled on outlawing popular firearms when they first hit the scene in 2014. Instead, they said they planned to concentrate on “background checks, addressing the role of guns in domestic violence, preventable deaths (child access to guns and suicide) and gun trafficking,” they lost no time in a victory lap on the new ban in Illinois, taking much of the behind-the-scenes credit.
“Illinois Moms Demand Action volunteers are a political powerhouse: from late nights at hearings to sending thousands of calls and emails to lawmakers, to testifying on behalf of this life-saving legislation,” said Shannon Watts, the outgoing head of the Everytown umbrella group. “In fact, some of the lawmakers who made this monumental victory possible are Moms Demand Action volunteers who are now state lawmakers. This is the playbook we’ll continue to use across the country.”
Meanwhile, pro-gun advocates are gearing up for the coming legal fight over the new ban.
“The Second Amendment Foundation will see Illinois in Federal court,” Alan Gottlieb, SAF’s executive vice president, told Guns.com on Tuesday night. “We will not allow this blatant attack on the right to keep and Bear arms to go unchallenged.”
Illinois is now the ninth state to issue restrictions on commonly held semi-auto firearms and magazines, joining the ranks of such perma-blue states as California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
The White House was quick to weigh in, reiterating that President Biden was eager to see a simlar nationwide law enacted by the federal government.
“The President has continued to press for more action to keep our homes, schools and communities safe, including federal laws requiring background checks for all gun sales and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday.