Illinois Becomes Ninth State to Institute Assault Weapons Ban
SPRINGFIELD – Standing alongside lawmakers and gun control activists, Governor Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act banning the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and switches 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,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “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.”
“Gun violence anywhere is a threat to wellbeing everywhere. In Illinois, lawmakers, advocates, and gun violence survivors stood together and worked for decisive, protective change,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for your steadfast leadership on this issue. Illinois is proud to do the work and to pass one of the strongest pieces of legislation in the country to make communities safer. Gun violence is not our normal, and it never will be.”
“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. “This legislation is the culmination of months of negotiations between advocacy organizations, law enforcement, state leaders, and stakeholders from across the state. 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.”
“I have spent my career working to protect people from the growing plague of gun violence that touches every corner of our state,” said Senate President Don Harmon. “This new law begins the pushback against weapons whose only intent is to eviscerate other human beings. I am proud to have worked on it and even prouder to see it signed into law.”
“Our state demanded firearm reform to reduce gun violence, and the legislature stepped up and delivered one of the strongest bills in the nation, one that can serve as a model for states,” said state Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) “I thank Gov. Pritzker, Senate President Harmon, Speaker Welch, and the countless survivors and family members who sat with us, shared their stories, and refused to give up until they got the change we all needed.”
“Illinois joins other states with the strongest assault weapons ban in the nation sending the message that lives are valued over guns,” said state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago). “Doctors, victims, advocates, and survivors sent a strong message and the General Assembly and the Governor took action.”
“Today, Illinois took a stand against the senseless barrage of gun violence that has plagued our state for far too long. The Protect Illinois Communities Act will undoubtedly save many lives and lead to safer streets, schools, and communities at large,” said state Rep. Maura Hirschauer (D-Batavia). “In honor of the lives lost and changed by gun violence, we must not grow complacent. Let today's legislative action be the first of many as we work to end gun violence once and for all.”
“This moment is the result of the dedication and leadership of hundreds of survivors, advocates and organizations that lent their voice to this fight to help enact what is now one of the strongest pieces of gun safety legislation in the country,” said Protect Illinois Communities Chair and President Becky Carroll. “We are ever grateful to Governor JB Pritzker for his unwavering commitment to this issue, and signing the Protect Illinois Communities Act into law, and to Speaker Chris Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, and Representative Bob Morgan for their leadership on making this historic day possible. We were fortunate to join forces with leading organizations here at home and from across the country, including Brady, Everytown, Giffords, Gun Violence Prevention PAC, and others, to take real action on preventing gun violence in our communities and saving lives.”
“This lifesaving package will go a long way toward getting assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off the streets, keeping guns away from people in crisis through red flag laws, and holding illegal gun traffickers accountable for taking advantage of weak laws in neighboring states,” said Everytown President John Feinblatt. “This victory was made possible by Illinois Moms Demand Action volunteers, who were a vocal presence in Springfield. Everytown is grateful to Governor Pritzker, Representative Morgan, Speaker Welch, President Harmon and their colleagues for honoring the victims and survivors of gun violence with action.”
“Today, Illinois took a major step in better protecting families and communities, and ensuring that tragedies such as Highland Park never happen again,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “We have the power to prevent these uniquely American tragedies, and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is a critical step towards that future. Our movement will continue until the sale of assault weapons is banned everywhere in the U.S. With this new law, the people of Illinois have shown why they are a leader of gun safety laws. Brady thanks Governor Pritzker, Representative Morgan, Speaker Welch, President Harmon, the entire legislature, GPAC and Protect Illinois Communities, as well as the countless advocates and survivors who persisted in getting this passed.”
“On July 4 in Highland Park, a day of celebration turned into a nightmare after a shooter opened fire on parade watchers, killing seven people and injuring 48. Assault weapons are built to kill and injure quickly and efficiently,” said Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “Our communities deserve safety and security. I applaud Illinois leaders Representative Bob Morgan, Speaker Chris Welch, President Don Harmon, and Governor J.B. Pritzker for having the courage to act to remove these weapons of war from our streets.”
House Bill 5471 also caps sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines, bans “switches” that convert legal handguns into assault weapons, and extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders.
The new law also requires existing owners of semi-automatic rifles to register their ownership, ensuring that law enforcement knows the location of these weapons of war and who to hold accountable if they fall into the wrong hands.
Governor Pritzker has also signed legislation to ban unserialized, privately made “ghost guns,” the first Midwestern state to do so (HB 4383). In 2021, Governor Pritzker signed legislation expanding background checks on all gun sales in Illinois and modernizing and strengthening the Firearm Owners Identification Card System (HB 562). Additionally, Governor Pritzker signed legislation (SB 337) to combat the scourge of illegal gun trafficking, making Illinois the 16th state to require gun dealers to be certified by the state after more than a decade of work. Governor Pritzker's Reimagine Public Safety Act also established the first ever Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, providing a historic investment in community-based violence prevention for the communities most affected by firearm violence.
House Bill 5471 also codifies the Illinois State Police’s internet-based system for reporting stolen firearms and enhances security around certain gun transfers by requiring such exchanges taking place after July 1, 2023 to be filed with a federally licensed firearms dealer and extending the record-keeping time from 10 to 20 years.
This legislation is effective immediately.