Semi-automatic firearms behind a locked cabinet at a retailer in Springfield, Illinois, with a note about who can purchase such weapons. | Photo: Greg Bishop / The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Certain provisions of Illinois’ gun and magazine ban go into effect Monday that will ban possession of certain semi-automatic firearms and magazines in public places.

At an unrelated stop in Champaign Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the ban on more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for handguns is to keep guns off the streets.

“There are certain guns that should not be available to the general public broadly and you’ve seen that, I believe, I’ve shown my own view about that, and the General Assembly showed its view on it,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker enacted the Protect Illinois Communities Act on January 10, prohibiting all future sales except to some in certain law enforcement roles.

While already owned firearms and magazines were grandfathered, the law says gun owners must follow certain protocols 90 days after enactment or face criminal penalties.

Illinois State Police say on their frequently asked questions website about the law that Illinoisans can “legally possess the firearm on private property owned or immediately controlled by the person, on private property that is not open to the public with the express permission of the person who owns or immediately controls such property, while on premises of a licensed firearms dealer or gunsmith for lawful repair, at a licensed firing range or sport shooting competition venue, or while traveling to and from these locations.”

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Gun rights advocate Todd Vandermyde said there is too much gray area.

“The gun club I’m on the board of directors of, what constitutes properly licensed? We have a special use permit from the county to do what we do but there is no Illinois licensing of ranges,” Vandermyde told The Center Square.

While certain capacity magazines over 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for handguns can be owned, they cannot be possessed in public.

Vandermyde argues the law includes prohibiting 15-round magazines that have removable base plates, which he says is common.

“If we make it impossible for you to carry commonly used magazines with your carry gun, we kind of negate carry across the board,” Vandermyde said.

Vandermyde also raised concerns how those licensed to conceal carry holders will be treated.

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“Police chiefs are political creatures and if they put down from the hierarchy ‘you will enforce this, you come across somebody with a carry license, you will inspect their magazines,’ and things like that, then it’s going to lead to a whole new level of probably litigation,” he said.

90 days after the enactment of the law, Illinois gun owners cannot possess prohibited guns or magazines in public unless they are unloaded in a closed case.

That includes transporting from one place to another. There is also a provision in the law about people from out of state with such firearms and magazines.

“Any nonresident who transports, within 24 hours, a weapon from where they may lawfully possess it to another place they may lawfully possess it must ensure the weapon is unloaded and neither the weapon nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment during transport,” ISP said on its FAQ.

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“If the vehicle doesn’t have a compartment outside of the driver’s compartment, the weapon or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console,” ISP said.

Vandermyde said he does not see how that can be enforced.

“That if you’re not a resident, you’re only supposed to be here for 24 hours,” Vandermyde said. “How does that work?”

Violation of the magazine ban is a petty offense with a $1,000 fine. Unlawful possession of a banned firearm carries up to a Class 3 felony.

Another phase of the gun and magazine ban is the registry.

Illinois residents may keep any AR-15 or weapon that has been defined as an assault weapon under the new law if the firearm was owned prior to the effective date of the law and registered between October 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024, ISP said. There is no registration fee.