Illinois Bans ‘Assault-Weapon’ Sales, Forces Owners to Register with Police

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act on Tuesday, barring the sale and distribution of so-called “assault weapons” and paving the way for expedited universal background checks.

The bill will prohibit the possession of semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 and grants local enforcement authorities the power to add additional firearm bans in the future. Moreover, firearm owners of now-restricted weapons must register with state police.

The 2022 Independence Day shooting in Highland Park, just outside of Chicago, that left dozens wounded and seven dead was on Pritzker’s mind in the press conference that followed.

“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,” Pritzker told a scrum of reporters“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.”

The vote was split virtually along party lines, with Democrats near-unanimously supporting the motion and most Republicans opposing it. The outgoing Republican state minority leader, Jim Durkin, became the only party member to cross the aisle ahead of his retirement later that day, marking the culmination of his 22-year career in Illinois politics.

The Illinois Freedom Caucus cheered Durkin’s departure. “Leader Jim Durkin is offering all kinds of excuses as he leaves the General Assembly, but the truth is under his leadership our caucus is at its lowest point in membership in a very long time,” a group statement read. “Jim Durkin has abandoned Republican principles of lower taxes, reduced spending and standing up for our Constitutional rights.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by departing state Republican senator Darren Bailey who insisted, “I and millions of other gun owners in this state will not comply.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association has announced plans to challenge the bill in court.

Illinois is the ninth state to ban the sale of so-called “assault weapons.”

More from National Review