Jan 10, 2023 - Politics

Illinois bans military-style weapons

Illustration of a blue word balloon overlaid with a red word balloon, and a rifle in both of them.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Illinois lawmakers have banned the "sale, manufacturing or delivery" of military-style weapons — and will require current owners to register them.

Why it matters: The legislation comes six months after a gunman used a legally purchased assault weapon to murder seven and injure dozens at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

  • Illinois became the ninth state to adopt a version of the ban when Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law Tuesday.

Between the lines: Votes for the measure split largely along party lines, with almost every Democrat voting for it and every Republican against — with a notable exception.

  • Outgoing GOP minority leader Rep. Jim Durkin voted for the measure before resigning Tuesday, the only Republican "yes."
  • In the Senate, four Democrats voted no and three abstained.
A screenshot of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker hugging a supporter after signing the assault weapons ban into law.
Photo: Gov. J.B. Pritzker/Twitter

Zoom in: House Speaker Chris Welch called the ban "one of the strongest" in the nation Tuesday. The law:

  • Bans the sale of dozens of assault weapons, including the AR-15 style weapon used by the Highland Park gunman, and allows state police to add to that list in the future.
  • Restricts high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns.
  • Requires current owners of the prohibited weapons to register them with state police.
  • Expedites universal background checks.

Of note: An earlier proposal seeking to raise the eligibility age for firearm ownership identification cards was dropped.

What they're saying: The law "will help save lives and reduce the trauma inflicted upon communities across our state," Protect Illinois Communities President Becky Carroll said after the bill's passage. "That's something we can all be proud of."

The other side: House Republicans contend the law is unconstitutional and won't reduce violent crime.

  • Outgoing state Sen. Darren Bailey warned "that I and millions of other gun owners in this state will not comply."

What's next: Illinois State Rifle Association officials are vowing to challenge the law.

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