SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House gave final approval Tuesday to a comprehensive measure to ban military style firearms that was drafted by Democrats, sending it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker even as Republicans and gun rights advocates contend it is unconstitutional and vow a legal challenge.
The 68-41 House vote came on the final scheduled day of action for the lame-duck 102nd General Assembly. The Senate endorsed the measure 34-20 on Monday, with no Republican support.
With Pritzker’s backing and expected signature, Illinois would become the ninth state to ban military-style firearms. The effort to achieve the ban accelerated following a deadly mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park with the alleged shooter using an AR-15 style of weapon.
Pritzker reiterated his support after the House vote.
“For a long time now, I and many other leaders in the Illinois General Assembly have prioritized getting the most dangerous weapons off our state’s streets. Today, honoring the commitment we made, we passed one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the nation, one I will be proud to sign,” the governor said.
Upon becoming law, the measure would immediately ban the manufacture, delivery, sale, import and purchase of so-called “assault weapons.” Current owners of such firearms would have until Jan. 1 to register gun serial numbers with the State Police. After that date, people who possess an unregistered firearm covered by the ban face a misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony for subsequent offenses.
The measure also would immediately ban the delivery, sale or purchase of large capacity ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns. Ninety days after the measure becomes law, possession of large-capacity magazines would be allowed only on private property, at a firing range or a sport shooting competition or at a federal licensed gun dealer for repairs. Violations would be subject to a $1,000 fine.
In addition, devices that increase the firing rate of a semi-automatic firearm would immediately be banned and someone in possession would face a felony count for each device.
The legislation also speeds up to July from January the existing requirement for universal background checks by federal firearm dealers or the State Police for private gun sales.
Republicans contended the legislation runs counter to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court involving Second Amendment constitutional rights for gun owners and would face a court challenge upon becoming law.
This is a developing story.