Lawmakers in Illinois on Monday night approved a bill to ban the sale and manufacture of certain semi-automatic weapons, which critics say are commonly used for self-defense and recreation.
The Protecting Illinois Communities Act passed the Illinois Senate on Monday night by a vote margin of 34–20.
The legislation will now return to the state House of Representatives, which passed it on a vote of 64–43 on Jan. 6, for a final vote before it goes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, who has supported the legislation and is expected to sign it into law.
In the House, the bill was sponsored by state Rep. Bob Morgan, a Democrat. The version that passed the lower chamber was changed slightly before the vote. A provision to raise the age for receiving a Firearms Owner Identification Card from 18 to 21 was removed.
However, the governor criticized the proposed changes on Sunday, arguing the Senate’s version fell short of what was needed, Bloomberg reported. House Speaker Chris Welch described the measure that reached the upper chamber as a “watered-down version” of the bill.
Lawmakers ultimately reached a deal that would immediately ban the manufacturing, selling, importing, or buying of a range of semi-automatic weapons, and ban attachments that increase the rate of fire.
Illinois state Senate President Don Harmon said in a statement that lawmakers reached a deal on “one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the country.”
“Tonight, the Senate passed legislation banning the sale and purchase of assault weapons in Illinois,” Harmon said. “Gun violence is an epidemic that is plaguing every corner of this state and the people of Illinois are demanding substantive action.”
Before the Senate voted on Monday, the Virginia-based Gun Owners of America (GOA) said the bill seeks to ban many commonly owned firearms, and decried the requirement to register them within the state as unconstitutional.
“Not only does this tyrannical proposition infringe on the rights of all Illinois citizens, but it is also extremely dangerous,” GOA said in a statement.
“These commonly owned semi-automatic firearms are used countless times every year to save lives and deter crime. Banning them will only prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing the best firearm to defend themselves,” the statement continued. “Not to mention, the requirement to register currently owned firearms is vehemently unconstitutional.”
The legislation, as amended in the House, bans several semi-automatic firearms, including .50-caliber guns and magazines that hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition. The text of the bill lists specific types or brands of 20 pistols and five dozen rifles that would be banned. The bill also bans “combination[s] of parts” that can be used to assemble a magazine.
The bill also extends the state’s current six-month firearm restraining order (FRO) to up to one year for persons deemed a danger to themselves or others. The scope of who can request a firearm restraining order against a person would also extend from family members to anyone.
Illinois State Rifle Association President Doug Mayhall previously told The Epoch Times that this measure means people could be reported over differences of political views.
“It would change from a family member [being able to request a FRO] and opens it up to anyone,” Mayhall said. “If you don’t like my political views, you could unfairly give me a lot of grief.”
It would also require Americans to register firearms presently legal to own without registration and restrict magazines that can hold more than 12 rounds.
“I’m done with the NRA having its way when it comes to mass shootings,” said Pritzker on Monday at his inauguration remarks after winning a second gubernatorial term. “Why do we allow anyone to easily purchase a rapid-fire, high-capacity weapon that can kill dozens of unarmed people in under a minute?”
The Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying wing of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), said after the measure passed the state’s lower chamber that the guns targeted in the bill are what “law-abiding citizens commonly own for self-defense, competition, and recreation.”