A bill banning certain semi-automatic guns and magazines with more than 12 rounds in Illinois has advanced out of a committee and been sent to the state House to be voted on.
Early Thursday at an unrelated event in Chatham, just south of Springfield, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was confident a gun ban would advance.
“I think there’s a majority, a strong majority of people across the state, that believe that we don’t need weapons of war on the streets of Illinois and that we can save lives if we pass an assault weapons ban,” Pritzker said.
State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, said poll numbers do not negate constitutional rights like the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
“You could get polls to say anything you want. This governor’s got an agenda. He wants to run for president,” Caulkins told The Center Square. “He needs to have another plank in his platform.”
State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, rallied several dozen supporters of a gun ban Thursday.
“We’re talking about banning the sale of assault weapons in the state of Illinois,” Morgan said.
“We’re talking about banning the sale of high-capacity magazines that are plaguing our communities with gun violence,” Morgan said.
An amendment was then filed to previously passed Senate Bill 2226.
House Floor Amendment 2 replaces everything with a new bill to ban certain types of semi-automatic firearms and magazines, among other measures.
That sets the bill up for quick passage before the end of lame-duck session on January 10.
House Speaker Emanual “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, discussed the bill before it advanced out of committee along party lines late Thursday.
“We are not taking away anyone’s guns, but we will require that the serial numbers on these grandfathered weapons be associated with the owners [Firearm Owner ID] account,” Welch said. “There must be accountability.”
Kourtney Redmond, the Illinois director of the National African American Gun Association, told the committee a gun ban will disproportionately impact his community.
“We want to make it more expensive. We want to make it more trying and we want to restrict the Black community from their rights,” Redmond said. “It’s their right. It’s their Second Amendment right.”
While already-owned semi-automatic guns would be required to be registered within 300 days of the bill’s enactment, magazines with more than 12 rounds would have to be modified or disposed of within 90 days.
Violations of the magazine prohibition would be a petty offense with a $1,000 fine for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for subsequent violations.
Violations of the gun registry would be a penalty of up to a Class 2 felony.
The bill exempts active duty law enforcement from the gun and magazine ban and exempts retired law enforcement from the gun provision, not the magazine ban.
The measure also extends the state’s firearms restraining order from six months to a year.
State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, said he supports going after gun trafficking, something the bill proposes, but he criticized the measure for requiring gun owners to register their semi-automatic firearms.
“I don’t think the majority of gun owners are going to register and I’m not sure who’s going to round them all up,” he said.
Proponents of a gun ban say they do not want to ban all guns, just semi-automatic guns.
Opponents say those are commonly owned firearms and counties across the state likely will not enforce the measure.
Lawmakers return Friday.