As an assault weapons ban bill heads back to the state House for a final vote, Illinois could soon become the next state in the country with an assault weapons ban on the books.
Monday, four days after the House passed the “Protect Illinois Communities Act,” the Illinois Senate passed its own version of the bill, which makes it illegal to deliver, sell or purchase any assault weapons in Illinois.
The Senate’s version of the legislation originally made several significant changes to the House version, which led House Speaker Emmanuel “Chris” Welch over the weekend to call the changes “watered down.” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also criticized the changes, saying “We need a bill that meets the urgency of now, and the current version in the Senate falls short.”
However, after negotiations Monday, many of those changes were rolled back, with the Senate voting to pass the bill — now called HB 5471 — by a 34-20 margin.
If and when the bill is signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, conservative groups as well as the Illinois State Rifle Association indicated that they will file suit to prevent its implementation, arguing that it violates the Constitution’s second and fourth amendments.
“Should the bill pass the Senate and be signed into law, the ISRA will work with other groups and concerned citizens across the state who put their personal safety first and will advocate for repeal in the next session of the Illinois General Assembly as well as consider litigation on what many believe is a constitutionally flawed bill,” the ISRA said in a release last week.
“A comprehensive bill targeting the weapon but not the individual who is committing a crime with them is doomed to failure,” Terry Kreimeier, retired Will County Sheriff Deputy added, in the same release.
“Illinoisans want bills that disarm those who should not have firearms, not those who have trained, have complied with all laws, and are state approved to have them.”
Here’s what the current version of the bill says, and what happens next.
What Illinois’ Current, Proposed Assault Weapons Ban Legislation Says
The bill, originally drafted by Rep. Bob Morgan of Highland Park as HB5855, underwent several changes during its time in the House and the Senate. Here’s a breakdown of some of what’s in the current bill:
- Bans the delivery, sale or purchase of any assault weapon in the sate of Illinois
- Allows the Illinois State Police to add guns to the list of banned assault weapons over time
- Limits the number of high capacity magazines 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns
- Extends “Red Flag” restraining orders from six months to one year
The legislation also includes language that would ban rapid fire devices, expedite the start of universal background checks and requires current owners of both weapons and magazines to register them with the Illinois State Police.
According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, safeguards are in place to make sure hunters aren’t impacted. Private security contractors would also be offered exemptions.
The legislation maintains the age to get a Firearm Owner Identification Card at 18 years old
What Happens Next
The bill, which originated in the House, approved by the House early Friday and then sent to the Senate. The Senate on Monday approved their own version of the bill, which now heads back to the House for a final vote.
If the House approves the current version, it then heads to Pritzker’s desk, where he has indicated he would sign it.
According to officials, a law would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
Currently, seven states and Washington D.C. have laws that ban assault weapons.