Six months after the Highland Park Fourth of July parade massacre, the Illinois House approved a measure Friday that would immediately ban the sale of assault weapons in the state and block the sale of large-capacity magazines with more than 12 rounds.
After lengthy debate that lasted into the early hours of Friday, the House voted 64-43 to pass the measure, which would also ban “rapid-fire devices,” firearms that fire one shot per trigger. In fully automatic weapons. It still must clear the Illinois Senate.
“Most importantly, this legislation will ban the new sale of assault weapons in the state of Illinois. That’s what the people of the state have been asking for. And that’s what it will deliver,” Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said during the debate. . “These are weapons that belong on the battlefield, not in parades or in parks or schools celebrating our country’s freedom.”
Gov. JB Pritzker has said he will support a ban on assault weapons and will join Democrats on the House floor during the entirety of the debate.
Lead sponsor state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, who was at the parade shooting with his family, recalled some horrifying encounters — pictures of a bloodied child he dragged away and hearing gunshots. Morgan said he had a difficult time on Wednesday at 10:14 a.m., the exact time the shots rang out six months ago.
“This is not a unique situation. And I left that day thinking that I would do everything I could, everything in my power to make sure that none of us, any of you No, none of your communities will go through what we went through. Two hours of debate.” And yet I failed. Because within three days of the Fourth of July, there were more gun deaths across the state of Illinois than on that day on the Fourth of July in Highland Park. That’s why I failed. I’m really carrying it on my shoulders right now as we stand here.”
Outgoing Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, who has been a vocal supporter of assault weapons bans for years, spoke in support of the measure.
“I’m tired. I’m so saddened by the shootings with these types of weapons all over this state,” Durkin said.
But other Republicans questioned whether the measure would pass constitutional muster and said it would criminalize lawful gun owners.
“We’re talking about gun crime. We’re talking about urban gun crime. We’re talking about mental health issues. And those are two things we’re not combating in this ,” said state Rep. CD Davidmeyer, R-Jacksonville. “We are going after legal gun owners who have done nothing wrong. Ninety-nine point nine percent — 99.999, right — haven’t done anything wrong, and we’re going after these individuals, and I think that’s wrong. We are drawing straws. I agree with you on the problem. But your solution is going to all the wrong people.
Individuals who already possess assault weapons will be able to legally possess their firearms by registering with the Illinois State Police within 300 days of the law taking effect. The goal of the law is to prevent future sales.
Sponsors added language that would exempt active-duty law enforcement and retirees who served in law enforcement for more than 10 years from firearm purchase restrictions. Retired officers will not be exempt from the ban on higher capacity magazines.
Language that would have extended eligibility for a state firearms owner’s identification card for most Illinois residents to 21 was not included in the measure that cleared the House. That language was included when House Democrats initially filed the bill on December 1. And the sponsors also added language that would allow gun makers to continue making firearms that can be sold in states where their sale is still legal.
Other lawmakers called on the bill’s sponsors to lower the penalties for those caught with high-capacity magazines—reducing the second offense to a $1,000 fine instead of a felony charge. Criminal justice advocates had argued that the new restrictions could disproportionately affect black and brown communities.
Lawmakers returned to Springfield on Wednesday for the start of the lame-duck session. The Illinois House held three committee hearings about the controversial measure in Chicago in December, with more than 12 hours of testimony from gun-rights advocates, anti-gun advocates and victims of crime.
Following the Highland Park shooting, Democratic House lawmakers began meeting in a working group to try to come up with a legislative solution to prevent another mass shooting tragedy. Police say Robert Crimo III, the suspect in the shooting, used a Smith & Wesson M&P15, an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle with the initials, M&P, to kill and kill seven people. 48 others stand in for the “military and police” injured.
The legislation would also extend the duration of such firearms restraining orders from six months to one year. It will also stand state lawyers to assist in the filing of such orders. No one sought such a restraining order against Crimo, even though Highland Park police were called to the family home in April 2019, reporting Crimo having suicidal thoughts, threatening to kill his family, Described as “killing everybody”.
Ashley Beasley, who survived the Highland Park shooting and survived harm with her 6-year-old son, spoke on the House Executive Committee and said her son is in trauma counseling because of the shooting.
“I fully support people’s rights to own guns. I’m a former gun owner. I have a FOID card. I don’t believe in taking things away from people,” Beasley said. “But I know what it feels like to run away from an AR-15. I know what it’s like to run through a crowd of people running with an AR-15. And I know what it’s like to live with a kid who’s trying to figure it out and can only clutch his head and say there are so many thoughts and is vomiting everywhere and wetting the bed. And it’s not normal.
Gun-control groups also formed a non-profit group called “Protect Illinois Communities”, which helped drum up support through television ads, mailers and news conferences.
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