Illinois governor signs sweeping gun and magazine ban as opponents promise court fight

Illinois governor signs sweeping gun and magazine ban as opponents promise court fight
AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker wasted little time after the state legislature gave final approval to legislation banning the sale and manufacture of so-called assault weapons on Tuesday afternoon, quickly signing the bill on Tuesday evening in front of gun control activists and anti-gun lawmakers. With his signature, the bill became law immediately, though how long that remains the case is very much an open question.

As of today, it is illegal for gun shops in the state to sell the modern sporting rifles banned by both name and various features, while rifle magazines must be limited to no more than 10 rounds and handgun magazines are capped at a capacity of 15 rounds. Current owners of “assault weapons” have also been told they have until January 1st, 2024 to register their rifles with the Illinois State Police, and failing to do so could result in a felony criminal charge.

Gun control activists were thrilled by Priztker’s signing, as you can imagine, but made it clear that their gun-banning ideology doesn’t stop at Illinois’ borders.

“The people of the great state of Illinois have been waiting decades for legislation just like this,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield. “Let them wait no longer.”

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering applauded the bill’s passage and called it an “important step,” but urged the federal government to follow suit and enact a national ban.

“We need continued bold action to address mass shootings across our nation,” Rotering said in a statement, calling on Washington and other states to follow Illinois’ lead. “We urge them to continue their work towards protecting all Americans’ rights to live free from fear of gun violence.”

If any Illinois resident is feeling safer this morning because of the new gun control measures imposed by Democrats, they’re deluding themselves. The vast majority of violent crimes in the state aren’t committed by legal gun owners. In fact, many of those acts can be pinned on individuals who are well known to the criminal justice system.

A 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.

With no consequences for his previous actions, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Harvey allegedly escalated his criminal behavior to the point of murder. But rather than cracking down on violent criminals or working to repair the state’s broken juvenile justice system the Democratic majority in Springfield chose to target legal gun owners and sellers with empty promises of increased safety at the expense of their fundamental rights.

We’ll be talking with one of those gun sellers on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co later today, when Maxon’s Shooter’s Supplies owner Dan Eldridge joins me to talk about the massive surge in sales ahead of the new prohibitions being signed into law, as well as the coming legal challenge to the state’s latest infringements on the Second Amendment. We’re also likely see one or more of those lawsuits filed in federal court at some point today, and plaintiffs will be seeking a restraining order and requesting an emergency hearing to halt enforcement of the law for the time being. Illinois’ anti-gun Democrats may have been able to enact their bill into law, but keeping it on the books is going to be a much more difficult proposition once the courts get involved.