A ban on a number of commonly-owned firearms and magazines could soon become law in Illinois after it was approved by the state House.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat who is set to be inaugurated to a second term on Jan. 9, had made the ban one of his promises in his reelection bid in 2022.
Senate Bill 2226 passed the state’s lower legislative chamber by a 64-43 vote late on Jan. 5. It now returns to the Senate for consideration.
The proposed legislation, as amended, outlaws a number of semi-automatic firearms, including .50-caliber guns and cartridges. Text of the bill lists out specific types or brands of 20 pistols and five dozen rifles that would be banned.
The bill also bans magazines that can hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition and “combination[s] of parts” that can be used to assemble a magazine.
The measure also expands the state’s current firearm restraining order from six months to up to one year for those judged a danger to themselves or others.
It also would require that Americans register firearms that are currently considered lawful to own without registration, and outlaw currently-legal magazines that can hold more than 12 rounds.
‘These Are Commonly Used Firearms’
Critics said the proposed legislation is unconstitutional and wouldn’t survive a court challenge.
Illinois State Rifle Association lobbyist Ed Sullivan noted how in June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court had recognized the right to carry a gun in public and ruled that New York’s concealed carry gun law was unconstitutional.
Referring to the firearms being targeted in the Illinois SB 2226, Sullivan said: “These are commonly used firearms, and the court found that any weapon that is commonly used today is similar [to] what was there in 1791.”
The Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), said the firearms targeted in the bill are what “law-abiding citizens commonly own for self-defense, competition, and recreation.” The lobbying division on Jan. 6 urged Illinois residents to contact their state senator and tell them to oppose the bill.
Leading negotiations on the bill was Rep. Bob Morgan, a Deerfield Democrat who attended the July 4 parade in the Chicago Suburb of Highland Park where an attacker shot and killed seven and injured 30.
The version that the House approved was a substitute measure submitted late on Jan. 4 by House Speaker Emanuel Welch, which increases the maximum magazine capacity to 12 from 10, and removes a previous provision that would have barred most people under 21 from obtaining a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, which is necessary to handle guns in Illinois.
The Senate needs 30 votes to pass the bill in the current lame-duck session, which concludes on Jan. 10, a day before the new Illinois General Assembly is sworn in.
“These are critically important issues, and the Senate Democratic Caucus is committed to enacting the most effective legislation possible,” said John Patterson, spokesman for Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park. “Senators are giving these proposals an extensive review and careful evaluation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.