Illinois committee passes assault weapons ban but full House vote looms


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — State lawmakers could soon be getting close to voting on a potential assault-style weapons ban after the bill cleared a key hurdle Thursday night.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act would ban the sale, manufacture, delivery, and purchase of assault weapons across the state. If passed, Illinoisans already in possession of a legally purchased assault weapon would be allowed to keep their firearm by registering the gun with the Illinois State Police within 300 days of the law taking effect.

The bill would also increase the age to own a Firearm Owners Identification card from 18 to 21. 

Active duty and retired police and military members in good standing are exempt. 

The bill also bans large-capacity magazines holding 12 or more rounds of ammunition and rapid-fire devices or switches. 

If passed, the law would take effect immediately. 

Gun shop owners would have 90 days to transfer high-capacity magazines out of state or modify them to carry less than 12 rounds. 

On Thursday, more than two dozen mayors and village presidents from across the state also called on legislators to pass the bill; among them were Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering. 

Dozens of Chicago residents also traveled to Springfield Thursday to lobby lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban.

At a committee hearing on Thursday, Highland Park survivor Ashbey Beasby spoke about the importance of passing such a ban.

“I fully support people’s rights to own guns, I have a FOID card, I don’t believe in stripping things from people, but I know what it’s like to run in a crowd of people from an AR-15 and live with a child that is trying to understand it,” she said.

After this week, the lame-duck legislature has one more chance to pass the bill next Tuesday before a new crop of lawmakers is sworn in.

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