‘Over-policed’ minority communities oppose Illinois’ proposed gun ban penalties
“We strongly oppose any proposed legislation that would further criminalize Black and brown communities.”
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Opposition to a proposed ban on semi-automatic guns and certain magazines in Illinois is coming from all sides, including minority communities opposed to penalty enhancements.
House Bill 5855, introduced by state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, would prohibit the future sale of around 100 semi-automatic guns and the future sale and possession of magazines of more than 10 rounds.
During Thursday’s hearing on the bill in an Illinois House Committee, Live Free Illinois lead organizer Artinese Myrick said they support prohibiting certain guns and magazines.
“But we are concerned that law-abiding citizens may be wrapped up in the system if they are not able to obtain weapons through the proper channels,” Myrick said. “For Black and brown communities who are over policed, we have more individuals who are susceptible to being swept up and are forgotten in the system.”
Anyone in possession of a defined “assault weapon” would have to register it with Illinois State Police within 300 days of the bill’s enactment. Possession of “large capacity” magazines could lead to felony charges.
The measure would also expand the firearms restraining order from six months to a year and prohibit anyone under 21, with the exception of people enlisted in the armed services, from getting a state-issued Firearm Owner’s Identification Card needed to lawfully purchase guns and ammo in Illinois.
“We strongly oppose any proposed legislation that would further criminalize Black and brown communities,” Myrick said. “We are opposed to penalty enhancements for Black and brown communities, and we are opposed to the FOID card age limit being raised to the age of 21.”
Gun-owner rights groups have indicated they’re not negotiating on the bill and are ready to sue.
Dan Eldridge with Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois said if enacted, the measure will make law-abiding residents criminals overnight.
“Millions and millions of Illinois residents suddenly are criminals for something that they formerly possessed lawfully, committed no crimes with and they’re now felons,” Eldridge told WMAY.
The gun-owner rights groups said they’re ready to go after the various aspects of the proposal.
“We plan on going immediately to federal court to challenge this on three fronts, the 18 to 21 restrictions, the magazines and the so-called ‘assault weapons,’” Eldridge said.
Another hearing on the bill is set for Tuesday, where Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly is set to testify.