Illinois gun store owner sounds the warning on "assault weapon" and magazine ban

Illinois gun store owner sounds the warning on "assault weapon" and magazine ban
(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

A couple of days ago we reported the looming threat of an “assault weapons” and magazine ban in Illinois, where Democrats are planning on taking full advantage of a lowered threshold for legislative passage in the upcoming lame-duck session and using their overwhelming majority to jam through the bans over the objections of Republicans and even some downstate Democrats.

At the time, only the Chicago Sun-Times had seen the text of the proposed legislation, but since then the first draft has been released for all to see. Dan Eldridge, who owns Maxon’s Shooter’s Supplies in Des Plaines, is among those who’ve gone over the text with a fine-toothed comb, and he’s now sounding the alarm to gun owners and Second Amendment supporters across the state.

As Eldridge details in a recent post on Maxon’s website, the particulars of HB 5855 “should horrify any gun owner.”

Major trouble areas of the bill: 

  • State-wide registry of all currently owned “Assault Weapons”
  • Ban on sales of “Assault Weapons”
  • Ban on sale and possession of all (long gun and hand gun) magazines holding more than 10 rounds
  • Raise the age for FOID eligibility to 21
  • Firearm Restraining Orders extend from the current 6 to 12 months

This bill has an immediate effective date, as soon as the Governor signs it. 

Possession of all 10+ round magazines is illegal. Manufacture, possession, delivery, sale, and purchase of assault weapons (p. 53-65) is illegal. Only weapons personally owned before the effective date are exempt and must be registered with the State Police 300 days after the Governor signs this legislation. Hello Registry! And you must pay $25 to register your “assault rifles.” This includes all pistols with threaded barrels.
So, no grandfather clause in the magazine ban; a small detail that the bill’s primary sponsor left out of his talking points to the Sun-Times. As Eldridge sarcastically points out, at least you’ll “only” be guilty of a misdemeanor offense if you forget about that spare Glock 17 mag.
Meanwhile, after the 300 day registration period has ended, any Illinois resident caught with an unregistered “assault weapon,” even one they’ve legally owned for years, will be committing a felony offense subject to prison time and massive fines.
The chances of derailing this bill in the legislature seem slim, and Eldridge is already vowing to be a part of the inevitable lawsuit to come if and when HB 5855 is signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, which could come as early as next month. But Eldridge also rips lawmakers for their criminal justice “reform” efforts that will allow individuals accused of committing a host of violent offenses to walk out of jail without having to post bail or bond, no matter their flight risk or threat to the community, while rushing to turn hundreds of thousands of legal gun owners into criminals simply for keeping the guns and magazines that they lawfully purchased.
In a post-Bruen and Heller world, this sort of ban is facially unconstitutional. AR15-pattern rifles and duty-sized pistols are in common use and thus fall under the protection of the 2nd amendment after Bruen. There are further constitutional issues to argue in addition to the 2nd: 4th and 14th amendment violations are obvious.
We will not argue the merits of this “assault weapons” ban. The other side is pandering to emotionally driven people who know nothing about guns, and they cannot be reasoned with nor can they be persuaded of the futility and unconstitutionality of this act.

This proposed ban is a sad exhibit of how degraded politics and politicians have become in this state.

Rather than work with the industry and law enforcement to reduce the criminal misuse of firearms (hint, hint: incarcerate criminals, and keep those accused of violent crimes in prison pending trial), the Democrat ILGA gun control enthusiasts prefer to pit one group against another. They are cowardly bullies, and the outcome will be further polarization of the politics of this state, deterioration of any constructive dialog, and the squandering of taxpayer funds when we win and are awarded court costs.
I’ll add one more outcome to the list of Dan’s predictions: a run on “large capacity” magazines and so-called assault weapons from now until the day the law takes effect. In an attempt to curb the sales of those items, anti-gun politicians are instead going to generate a massive interest in acquiring one (or more) modern sporting rifle and as many magazines as they can find before they’re banned.
We’ll be talking a lot more about the impending ban coming up next week on Bearing Arms Cam & Co, but in the meantime I encourage every Illinois gun owner to take this threat seriously. Democrats may believe they have the votes locked in, but your lawmakers still need to hear from you; not only reaching out now but signing up to testify in opposition during committee hearings if possible. The flagrant violations of constitutionally protected rights found within HB 5855 will be challenged in a court of law in due time, but in the meantime they should be challenged in the court of public opinion and in the statehouse every day between now and when they take effect.