Illinois Democrats are introducing a bill to ban assault weapons

Democrats in the Illinois House on Thursday unveiled a proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and eliminate the ability for most people under 21 to obtain a gun license in the state.

The legislation, introduced on the last legislative session day of 2022, is in response to the mass shooting at the July 4 parade in Highland Park that killed seven people and injured dozens more by a gunman wielding an assault rifle and high-capacity magazines .

The alleged shooter, Robert Crimo III, was issued a firearms owner ID card at the age of 19 with parental consent, which is permitted under current state law.

The House bill was introduced by Democratic State Representative Bob Morgan of Deerfield, who was marching in the parade when the shooting occurred.

State Representative Bob Morgan speaks at a news conference surrounded by gun violence advocates at the Capitol in Washington on July 20, 2022.

“I spent months meeting with victims, policy experts, community leaders and more,” Morgan, who led a group of House Democrats in drafting the bill, wrote in a Twitter post Thursday. “Thanks to their feedback and perspectives, I am convinced that this comprehensive approach is at the root of the gun violence epidemic and will save lives.”

Lawmakers aren’t supposed to return to Springfield until after January 1, but with the new year comes a lower voting threshold for passing legislation that takes effect immediately. A three-fifths majority would be needed in each chamber before the new year, but after that only a simple majority is needed.

It’s unclear whether current harvest lawmakers will pass the measure in early January or whether it will be delayed until after the new legislature is inducted on Jan. 11, when House Democrats will see their ranks grow from 73 members to at least 78 in the House with 118 seats.

While Governor JB Pritzker and other Democrats have pushed for a ban on assault weapons since the Highland Park shooting, gun control measures have historically failed to gain support from some downstate members of the legislature’s majority party.

Morgan’s proposal is consistent with some recommendations in a 16-page report released Thursday by experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, including banning gun licenses for those under 21, banning large-capacity magazines and strengthening the state’s red flag law.

Morgan’s proposal would only allow people under the age of 21 to get a FOID card if they are active duty members of the U.S. military or Illinois National Guard.

The measure also aims to strengthen the state’s firearms restraining order by extending the period during which someone can be barred from owning a gun from six months to one year and by giving local prosecutors a greater role in the process. to give. The details of the Highland Park shooting raised questions about whether the law could have been used to prevent the alleged gunman from purchasing the gun used in the attack.

Morgan said in a statement that he plans to hold hearings on the proposal this month.

Kathleen Sances of the Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee said members of the group “look forward to reviewing the bill and continuing to work in support of necessary gun safety solutions.”

“In the absence of a federal ban (on assault weapons), Illinois has been waiting a long time for a statewide ban on guns that continue to kill so many, not just in Chicago or Highland Park, but also in Crest Hill, Decatur, East Saint Louis, Elgin , Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, Romeoville, Wheeling and Yorkville,” Sances said in a statement. “We don’t have to live like this, and we certainly don’t have to watch our neighbors die senselessly.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association did not respond to a request for comment on Morgan’s proposal, but in response to the Johns Hopkins report, the group’s executive director, Richard Pearson, said he opposes people under the age of 21 being denied FOID get cards.

“If you can die for the country, sign contracts and get married, you should be able to get a FOID card,” Pearson said.

Annie Sweeney of the Chicago Tribune contributed.

dpetrella@chicagotribune.com

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