The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee, headed by anti-gun, Senate President John Cullerton passed House Bills 1263 and 815 on Wednesday. Should these bills become law, it would ban almost all modern firearms and magazines. Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn also backed the bills.
Amid the developments, the Illinois State Rifle Association issued an “urgent alert” to its members warning them that Democratic legislators were trying to push through last-minute anti-gun legislation.
“There would be no exemptions and no grandfathering,” the group stated in its alert. “You would have a very short window to turn in your guns to the state police and avoid prosecution.”
A Senate committee approved two bills, one dealing with the weapons and the other with magazines. Democratic supporters could face a tough sell in the full Senate.
One measure would ban the possession, delivery, sale and transfer of semiautomatic handguns and rifles. People who currently own such weapons could keep them but would have to register them. The bill would allow semiautomatic weapons to be used at shooting ranges, but those facilities would be regulated.
The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action put out a statement citing what these bills would do, despite the Second Amendment:
Among other things, House Bill 815 would:
- Prohibit anyone without a FOID card from using a commercial shooting range, which in many cases would make it impossible to introduce new shooters to the safe and responsible use of firearms.
- Grant the State Police broad discretion to impose design, construction and operation standards that could shut down most commercial shooting ranges.
- Ban possession of magazines and other feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. A "grandfather clause" would require registration by owners of such devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require "proof of ownership" that could be impossible for most people to provide, and even registered owners could not transfer magazines within Illinois, except to an heir or a licensed dealer. Transfers of "grandfathered magazines" would have to be reported to the ISP.
- Violations of this magazine ban would be a felony. Failure to report theft or loss of a magazine would be a misdemeanor until the third violation, which would be a felony.
House Bill 1263 would:
- Ban, at a minimum, all detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Remington 7400 deer rifles, Ruger 10/22 squirrel guns, Glocks, 1911s, etc. This ban would include about 80% of handguns now sold in the U.S.
- Possibly ban all semi-automatic rifles and even revolvers or single-shot pistols with the capacity to accept muzzle brakes or compensators.
- Ban "assault weapon attachments," so possession of a thumbhole stock, a pistol grip,or a fore-end (a "shroud" that "partially or completely encircles the barrel") would be a crime even if you didn't possess a firearm.
- Ban all .50 BMG rifles.
- Contains "grandfather" provisions that would require registration by owners of devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require "proof of ownership."
- Create felony penalties for violation of this ban on guns or attachments.
- Create lost and stolen penalties that would criminalize victims of gun theft.
The NRA-ILA urge those in Illinois to, "Call your state Senator IMMEDIATELY and express your opposition to banning firearms or magazines and urge them to vote against House Bills 815 and 1263. To reach the main line for the Illinois General Assembly, please call 217-782-2000."
UPDATE: Illinois Democrats fail at their attempt to pass the legislation. Quad-City Times reports,
There’s not enough support in the Illinois Senate to impose tough new restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
In a setback for gun-control advocates in the wake of the killings of school children in Connecticut, the Illinois Senate was poised to adjourn Thursday without voting on two pieces of legislation aimed at limiting access to certain kinds of weapons and bullets.
Although the two proposals could emerge again when the legislature reconvenes next week, the lack of action shows the General Assembly remains divided on how to balance Second Amendment issues.
A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, offered no timetable for when the gun safety proposals might surface again.
“We will take some time to work on these important issues to advance them in the near future,” Rikeesha Phelon noted in a message to reporters.