Illinois’ Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed legislation that enacts an extensive ban on firearms as well as high-capacity magazines in the state.
The new law caps the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, bans “switches” that allow handguns to fire rounds automatically and “extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders,” the governor’s office said in a news release.
The ban goes into effect immediately and will not require those who currently own such weapons to relinquish them, though people who already possess semi-automatic rifles will be required to register their ownership.
“No Illinoisan, no matter their zip code, should have to go through life fearing their loved one could be the next in an ever-growing list of victims of mass shootings. However, for too long, people have lived in fear of being gunned down in schools, while worshipping, at celebrations or in their own front yards,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This legislation will stop the spread of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and switches and make our state a safer place for all.”
The bill passed in a 34-20 vote in the state’s Senate on Monday and 68-41 in the House Tuesday, largely along party lines, before heading to Pritzker’s desk. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats.
“This assault weapons ban is a step in the right direction, to improve safety for Illinois’ families and law enforcement but there’s no magic fix, no single law that will end gun violence once and for all. So, we must keep fighting, voting and protesting to ensure future generations will only have to read about massacres like Highland Park, Sandy Hook or Uvalde in their history books,” Pritzker said on Tuesday.
In the Highland Park shooting, which took place at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb last year, the suspect allegedly fired more than 70 rounds into a crowd, killing seven people and injuring dozens more. The high-powered rifle that was used in the shooting was described by authorities as “similar to an AR-15” and was legally purchased.
Several Republicans objected to the new law. State Rep. Dave Severin issued a statement in which he specifically criticized the registration requirement and supported legal challenges, while another representative, Charlie Meier, said the legislation “won’t prevent gang violence from occurring in our cities, however, it will unfortunately diminish law-abiding gun owners the right to protect themselves and their family at home.”
Pritzker, who marked the start of his second gubernatorial term with Tuesday’s ban, has also signed legislation in the past to combat gun violence.
In May 2022, the governor signed HB 4383, which prohibits individuals from selling or possessing so-called “ghost guns,” self-assembled firearms often put together with parts sold online, and ensures all firearms are serialized, allowing law enforcement to better trace them.
Pritzker later signed HB4729 in June of last year, which requires the Department of Public Health to develop and implement a two-year public awareness campaign focused on safe gun storage.