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Illinois Legislature Approves Controversial Ban on Assault Weapons


Illinois has become the ninth state to approve a statewide ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. On Tuesday, the Protect Illinois Communities Act passed by the General Assembly along party lines, bans AR-15s and other military-style weapons, and limits long-gun magazines to 10 rounds and handguns to 15. The measure was passed just six months following a mass shooting at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, which left seven people dead and 48 injured. Sheri Wilson, Illinois chapter co-leader for Moms Demand Action, said it has been a long haul, but was worth it.

“Regular citizens should not be having access to weapons of war,” Wilson contended. “These massacres that we see on the news are typically a result of having an assault weapon by the hand of the shooter. So, that is significant.”

Gov. JB Pritzker said he will sign the legislation. Gun-rights advocates and firearms dealers have vowed to take the state to court over the ban, calling it a “clear violation of Second Amendment rights.” Current owners would be able to keep their guns for limited use, but must register them and provide serial numbers to the Illinois State Police. The bill also includes expedited implementation of universal background checks, but does not change the age for firearms ID cards. Wilson pointed out the measure contains many of the elements her group wanted in a gun-control measure.

“It addresses gun suicide, assault weapons, and getting the serial numbers onto these weapons is really important,” Wilson asserted. “And that’s one of the things that we pushed for.”

Wilson added Moms Demand Action was created shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting took place in December 2012, and many of its members have connections to people killed or injured in mass shootings.

“The reason why we do this work is so that we recognize the people that have had their lives taken from gun violence,” Wilson explained. “And also the surviving family members and friends because that pain just never goes away.”

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