Illinois assault weapons ban approved by Illinois House

Illinois assault weapons ban approved by Illinois House

Six months after the Highland Park Fourth of July parade massacre, the Illinois House on Friday approved a measure that would immediately ban the sale of assault weapons in the state and prevent the sale of large-capacity magazines that hold more than 12 cartridges.

After a lengthy debate that lasted into the early hours of Friday, the House of Representatives voted 64-43 to approve the measure that would also ban “rapid fire devices” that recoil firearms that fire a shot. for recoil on fully automatic weapons. The Illinois Senate still needs to be cleared.

“This legislation will mostly prohibit the new sale of assault weapons in the state of Illinois. This is what the people of this state have been calling for. And that’s what it’s going to deliver,” Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said during the debate. “These are guns that belong on a battlefield, not in parades celebrating our country’s independence or in parks or schools. “

Governor JB Pritzker has said he would support passing an assault weapons ban and joined Democrats on the House floor throughout the debate.

The state’s main sponsor, Rep. Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, who was at the parade shooting with his family, recounted some of the horrific encounters — images of a bloodied toddler he saw being dragged away and the sounds of gunshots he heard. Morgan said he had a hard time at 10:14 a.m. Wednesday, the exact time the shooting erupted six months ago.

“This is not a unique situation. And I left that day thinking that I’m going to do everything I can, whatever is in my power to make sure that none of us, none of you, none of your communities go through what we went through,” said Morgan at the end of a nearly two-hour debate. “And yet I failed. Because within three days after the Fourth of July, there were more gun deaths in the entire state of Illinois than there were that day on the Fourth of July in Highland Park. So I failed. I’ve literally carried it on my shoulders up until this moment as we stand here now.”

The Illinois Senate plans to return to session on Sunday, but it is unclear when lawmakers will vote on the measure. John Patterson, spokesman for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, said senators are giving the proposal “an extensive review and careful evaluation.”

Outgoing Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, who has been a vocal supporter of banning assault weapons for years, spoke in support of the measure.

“I’m tired. I’m sick of shootings everywhere in this state with these kinds of guns,” Durkin said.

But other Republicans questioned whether the measure would pass constitutional muster and said it would penalize legal gun owners.

“We are talking about gun crime. We are talking about urban gun crime. We are talking about mental health issues. And those are two things we’re not fighting in this,” said Rep. CD Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville. “We are going after lawful gun owners who have done nothing wrong. Ninety-nine point nine percent — 99,999, right — have done nothing wrong, and we’re going after these individuals, and I think that’s wrong. We are drawing at straws. I agree with you on the problem. But your solution is going to all the wrong people.”

Those who already possess assault weapons will be able to legally carry their firearms by registering them with the Illinois State Police within 300 days of the law taking effect. The purpose of the legislation is to stop future sales.

Lawmakers targeted “switches” that convert handguns into illegal machine guns that can fire 20 rounds in about a second. An investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times, WBEZ and NPR last year found that the number of keyed guns and extended magazines seized by Chicago police has increased over the past several years, making the city a hot spot for what federal authorities have said is a national problem.

The sponsors added language that would exempt from the firearms purchase restrictions active law enforcement and retirees who have served in law enforcement for more than 10 years. Retired officers will not be exempt from the ban on high-capacity magazines.

Language that would have increased eligibility for a state firearms owner identification card for most Illinois residents to 21 was not included in the measure that cleared the House. That language was included when House Democrats first introduced the bill on Dec. 1. And the sponsors also added language that would allow gun manufacturers to continue making firearms that can be sold in states where their sale is still legal.

Other lawmakers called on the bill’s sponsors to reduce the penalties for those caught with high-capacity magazines — reducing a second offense to a $1,000 fine instead of a felony charge. Criminal justice advocates had argued that the new restrictions could disproportionately affect black and brown communities.

Lawmakers returned to Springfield on Wednesday for the start of a lame-duck session. The Illinois House held three committee hearings in December in Chicago on the controversial measure, which featured more than 12 hours of testimony from gun rights advocates, anti-gun advocates and crime victims.

After the Highland Park shooting, Democratic House lawmakers began meeting in a task force to try to find legislative solutions to prevent another mass shooting tragedy. Police say shooting suspect Robert Crimo III used a Smith & Wesson M&P15, an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle whose initials, M&P, stand for “military and police” to kill seven people and 48 others were injured.

The legislation would also extend the duration of such firearms restriction orders from six months to one year. It would also give state attorneys general to help file such an order. No one had sought such a restraining order against Crimo, even though Highland Park police called to the family’s home in April 2019 described Crimo in their reports as having suicidal thoughts, threatening to kill his family, for to “kill them all”.

Ashley Beasley, who was at the Highland Park shooting and escaped harm along with her 6-year-old son, spoke to the House Executive Committee, saying her son has been in trauma counseling because of shooting.

“I fully support people’s rights to own guns. I am a former gun owner. I have a FOID card. I don’t believe in taking things away from people,” Beasley said. “But I know what it’s like to run from an AR-15. I know what it’s like to run into a crowd of people running from an AR-15. And I know what it’s like to live with a child who is trying to figure it out and can only process it by holding his head and saying he has too many thoughts and throwing up everywhere and wetting the bed. And that’s not normal.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *