File Photo – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker | Photo: Illinois Information Service

Gov. JB Pritzker said he supports a proposed Illinois ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines and says he hopes the legislation will be passed in the first half of 2023.

Illinois State Representative Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) introduced House Bill 5855, dubbed the Protect Illinois Communities Act, on December 1.

Morgan represents Illinois House District 58, which includes towns like Lake Bluff, Lake Forest and Highland Park.

He was named the chair of the House Firearm Safety and Reform Working Group in July 2021.

Morgan said he is “confident that this comprehensive approach gets at the root of the gun violence epidemic and will save lives.”

Morgan’s proposed legislation would amend Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and prevent a person under the age of 21, who is not active duty military, from obtaining a FOID card.

Currently, a person under the age of 21 can obtain a FOID card with parental consent, like in the case of alleged Highland Park shooter Robert Crimo III.

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Illinois State Representative Bob Morgan introduced House Bill 5855 earlier this month, which would raise the age for gun ownership for most residents to 21 and ban “assault weapons” in Illinois. | Photo: Office of State Rep. Bob Morgan

The bill would also ban “assault weapons,” require registration of existing weapons, prevent sales of magazines with more than 10 rounds and prohibit devices that make a weapon fully automatic.

The bill also proposes a number of other changes, like establishing a state-wide strike team to combat the influx of illegal guns and strengthening firearm restraining order laws.

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson opposed the bill and said it takes away Second Amendment rights from law-abiding citizens.

“The Illinois State Rifle Association will not be entering into any negotiations on this piece of legislation. Elections have consequences. We will see the State of Illinois in court should this bill be enacted into law,” Pearson said.

Several gun violence groups have released statements in support of the new bill.

“Gun violence is destroying families and communities from East St. Louis to Highland Park to Chicago, and this moment demands urgency,” Morgan said.

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“It is time that we had the political courage to admit that guns are a problem, and that we can do something about it. This gun reform package will reduce gun deaths in Illinois, and it is long past time for us to step up and reform the laws which have enabled this gun violence to continue,” Morgan added.

Pritzker said earlier this week that he “favors” the proposed changes.

The governor said he would like the changes passed by the Illinois House and Senate by July 4, 2023.

A committee hearing on the legislation is scheduled for Monday.