Illinois has become the ninth state in the United States to pass an assault weapons ban aimed at keeping weapons of war off its streets.
In the presence of lawmakers and gun control activists, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act banning the sale and distribution of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois, effective immediately.
The law also bans “switches” that convert legal handguns into assault weapons, and extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders.
Existing owners of semi-automatic rifles must register their ownership, ensuring that law enforcement knows the location of these weapons of war and who to hold accountable if they fall into the wrong hands.
Governor Pritzker has also signed legislation to ban unserialized, privately made “ghost guns,” the first Midwestern state to do so.
“For the past four years, my administration and my colleagues in the State Capitol have been battling the powerful forces of the NRA to enshrine the strongest and most effective gun violence legislation that we possibly can,” said Pritzker. “I couldn’t be prouder to say that we got it done. And we will keep fighting — bill by bill, vote by vote, and protest by protest — to ensure that future generations only hear about massacres like Highland Park, Sandy Hook, and Uvalde in their textbooks,” he added.
Illinois joins California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C. as states with the strongest assault weapons ban in the nation.
The new law also codifies the Illinois State Police’s internet-based system for reporting stolen firearms and enhances security around certain gun transfers by requiring such exchanges taking place after July 1, 2023 to be filed with a federally licensed firearms dealer and extending the record-keeping time from 10 to 20 years.
The Illinois Senate and House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, had passed House Bill 5471 earlier this week.
“President Joe Biden commends the leadership of Illinois Governor Pritzker, House Speaker Chris Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, Representative Bob Morgan, and the numerous advocates, survivors, and elected officials whose tireless efforts turned the pain of Highland Park and other acts of gun violence into meaningful action on behalf of all Illinoisans,” the White House said.
Biden had signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — the first significant piece of gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years – into law last summer.
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