Illinois House passes "assault weapons ban" as gun owners promise lawsuit

Illinois House passes "assault weapons ban" as gun owners promise lawsuit
AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Illinois lawmakers rushing to impose sweeping new infringements on the right to keep and bear arms took a major step towards getting a gun ban bill to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker early Friday morning. Just after midnight the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” was approved on a 64-43 vote, sending the bill to the state Senate where lawmakers are expected to swiftly consider the anti-civil rights legislation before sending it to Pritzker for his approval.

In addition to banning the sale and manufacture of so-called assault weapons, the legislation also mandates that existing owners register their modern sporting rifles with the state of Illinois within 300 days of the law taking effect. In addition, the legislation creates a new ban on “large capacity” magazines that can accept more than ten rounds, expands the state’s “red flag” law, as well as raising the age to obtain a Firearms Owner ID card (a prerequisite for lawfully possessing a firearm in Illinois) from 18 to 21.

Governor JB Pritzker, who was in attendance, released a statement after the vote saying in part, “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.”

Representative Barbara Hernandez co-sponsored the bill and said in part: “As we remember families who lost dads, moms, children and others due to gun violence and those who are survivors, we today passed policy that will work on preventing any other tragedies from happening in our state.”

Republican opponents said the measure is too broad, and bans many firearms commonly used for hunting and sport shooting, and it even takes away the ability of people to protect themselves.

“You are turning legal gun owners with this bill into felons,” said State Rep. C.D. David Meyer, (R) 100th District.

Meanwhile, illegal gun owners will shrug off each and every one of these measures. While Democrats are laser-focused on stripping peaceable gun owners of their civil rights, those caught illegally possessing firearms are often getting repeated slaps on the wrist… sending a message that crime, can, in fact, pay well.

17-year-old accused of shooting a man to death during a carjacking attempt at an Englewood gas station this week has been charged with two gun crimes and a stolen motor vehicle case in juvenile court since 2021, prosecutors said Thursday, but all of those cases were either diverted or “informally adjusted.”

Rafael Harvey did not attend his bail hearing in person on Thursday morning because one of the victims shot him during the carjacking attempt and he remains hospitalized in serious condition, according to officials.

He was arrested twice for gun violations in 2021, but both cases were resolved with “informal adjustments,” McCord reported. In March of last year, Harvey was arrested for possessing a stolen motor vehicle, and that case was “diverted,” McCord said.

Prosecutors charged Harvey with first-degree murder, first-degree murder during the commission of a forcible felony, attempted first-degree murder, attempted vehicular hijacking by discharging a firearm, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

It’s not legal gun owners who are driving violent crime in Illinois, but they’re the ones being targeted by Illinois lawmakers. In fact, many of the same Democrats who just voted to criminalize the Second Amendment for adults under-21 (and to make some of the most popular rifles in the country prohibited items) also voted in favor of cutting criminal defendants a break with their SAFE-T Act; which among other initiatives seeks to end cash bail (though that aspect of the law has been enjoined by a judge) and allows for those on electronic monitoring to leave their homes for up to 48 hours before facing sanctions.

HB 5855 won’t make Illinois a safer place, and it remains to be seen whether any of its provisions will actually be allowed to take effect once the Senate holds its vote and Pritzker puts pen to paper. Just as we’ve seen in New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and other states that have adopted post-Bruen infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, there’ll be multiple legal challenges filed to the new law as soon as possible. Hopefully a judge will grant a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of HB 5855, because if this law is allowed to take effect and be enforced the impact on the Second Amendment rights of Illinois residents will be immediate… and incredibly harmful.