As the Illinois General Assembly gathers for the final days of its lame duck session, lawmakers continue negotiations on a bill that would ban the purchase or possession of assault weapons in the Illinois. State.
HB 5855, known as the “Protect Illinois Communities Act”, would also prohibit most people under the age of 21 from purchasing firearms in the state of Illinois and prohibit the purchase or manufacture extended magazines for weapons.
Currently, seven states have laws in place that ban assault weapons at least to some degree, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
Rep. Bob Morgan, who was an eyewitness to the tragic shooting during the Fourth of July parade in suburban Highland Park earlier this year, is the bill’s lead sponsor.
“We have never been closer to passing this major gun safety legislation, and there is a chance to do so,” Morgan said. “I think there is a critical mass not only of public support, but also within the legislature, that recognizes that we can do something about the massive flow of semi-automatic rifles and this influx of high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices.
Highland Park City attorney Steven Elrod said that while the community has an assault weapons ban on the books, the fact that no such ban exists statewide makes it difficult for these measures to be effective.
At the final public hearing of the year, law enforcement officials and lobbyists from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) provided opposing testimony on HB 5855, a proposed assault weapons ban in Illinois, NBC 5’s Kate Chappell reports.
“A ban cannot be as effective as the least impactful ordinance status of a neighboring city or state,” he said.
Data obtained by NBC 5 Investigates shows more than 73,000 residents filed for FOID cards in Illinois in the five months following the Highland Park shooting, marking a 19% increase from the months before the attack.
People who currently own weapons considered “assault weapons” under the proposed legislation would have the option of registering those weapons with the Illinois state police, according to the bill’s sponsors. .
With just a week left in the lame session in Springfield, Morgan says there’s still time to cross the finish line.
“I think there’s a path for this to pass,” Morgan said.
Gun violence survivors testified Monday in the first day of hearings for HB 5855, a sweeping gun control bill known as the “Protect Illinois Communities Act.” Reporting by Kate Chappell of NBC 5.
The alleged shooter has pleaded not guilty after being charged with 117 different counts. His next court appearance will be on January 31.
Meanwhile, his father has been charged with seven counts of reckless driving for sponsoring his son’s application for a FOID card.
Republicans have widely criticized the bill, and several groups, including the Illinois State Rifle Association, have pledged legal action if the measure were to pass.
Here’s a breakdown of what HB5855 says and what’s included in the bill.
Prohibits assault weapons and extended magazines
The legislation would make it illegal to manufacture, deliver, sell, or purchase any assault weapon in the state of Illinois. It would also make it illegal to possess such a weapon 300 days after the bill is finally passed.
A full list of weapons classified as “assault weapons” can be found in the text of the bill.
The bill also makes it illegal to possess, purchase or possess .50 caliber rifles and cartridges, but there is language in the bill that allows owners who currently own such weapons to keep them.
People who already own weapons that fall under the definition of “assault weapons” must register those weapons with the Illinois State Police between 80 and 300 days after the bill is finally passed into law. A $25 fee will also be assessed.
Additionally, residents do not purchase or own magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, and the bill also prohibits the sale or purchase of “switches”, which can increase the rate of fire of a armed.
These switches are technically already banned under federal law.
Raises the legal age of possession of firearms from 18 to 21
The bill also contains a provision that raises the minimum age to own a firearm from 18 to 21.
There are exceptions in the bill for the use or possession of weapons by persons under the age of 21. Active members of the Illinois Army or National Guard can still own guns, as can people employed by the federal government and must carry guns. as part of their responsibilities.
Persons under the age of 21 who wish to hunt must do so under the supervision of an adult, and that adult must also have a FOID card.
Allows prosecutors to seek revocation of gun possession from those who trigger ‘red flag’ laws
If an individual could potentially be required to turn over weapons or prohibited from buying or possessing weapons, under the state’s “red flag” laws, prosecutors can now act as “friends of the court” in these processes.
Previously, only family members or law enforcement officers could use “red flag” laws to compel renewal or prevent the sale of weapons.
In its current form, the ‘Red Flag’ law allows family members or law enforcement officers to petition the courts to temporarily remove firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. .
Currently, these restraining orders can last six months, but the bill would extend that period to 12 months.
‘Red flag’ laws have come under scrutiny in the wake of the Highland Park shooting as the alleged shooter was able to purchase multiple guns despite threats of violence against his family and also threatened to to harm one’s self.
The suspect’s father signed a document allowing him to buy weapons, and law enforcement did not move to revoke his weapons.