Governor JB Pritzker holds up a bill he signed into law Tuesday evening that bans the sale of high-capacity weapons and magazines in Illinois. | Photo: Illinois Information Service

Governor JB Pritzker, surrounded by lawmakers and gun control activists, signed a bill into law that bans what he calls “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines in Illinois.

Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act Tuesday evening in the Illinois Capitol Rotunda.

The act bans the sale and distribution of high-capacity weapons in Illinois effective immediately.

“For the past four years, my administration and my colleagues in the State Capitol have been battling the powerful forces of the NRA to enshrine the strongest and most effective gun violence legislation that we possibly can,” Pritzker said.

“I couldn’t be prouder to say that we got it done. And we will keep fighting — bill by bill, vote by vote, and protest by protest — to ensure that future generations only hear about massacres like Highland Park, Sandy Hook, and Uvalde in their textbooks,” he said.

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In addition to banning semi-automatic weapons, House Bill 5471 also caps sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines and bans “switches,” which convert handguns into automatic weapons.

“From ending the sale of assault rifles to stopping the tidal wave of guns flooding into Illinois from surrounding states, the Protect Illinois Communities Act is one of the strongest gun safety laws in the nation,” said House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch.

“We know that gun violence is an epidemic and an overwhelming majority of Illinoisans agree that the time for common-sense reform is now. Delivering on this promise – the promise to remove these weapons of war from our parks, our schools, our movie theatres, churches, and communities throughout Illinois – will remain one of my proudest achievements as Speaker of the House,” Welch said.

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The law also extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders.

The law requires existing owners of semi-automatic rifles to register their ownership.

State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) introduced and spearheaded the legislation.

Morgan said the legislature delivered “one of the strongest bills in the nation, one that can serve as a model for states”

House Bill 5471 also codifies the Illinois State Police’s internet-based system for reporting stolen firearms and aims to enhance security around certain gun transfers by requiring exchanges taking place after July 1, 2023, to be filed with a federally licensed firearms dealer.

It also extends the record-keeping time from 10 to 20 years.

The Illinois House passed the bill on Monday and the Senate passed it Tuesday.

The law, which is effective immediately, makes Illinois the ninth state to ban high-capacity weapons.

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Republican Illinois lawmakers have called the bill unconstitutional and gun-owner rights groups have promised to file lawsuits against the new law.