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Illinois House backs assault weapons ban sending bill to Gov. Pritzker's desk

Notably, the Illinois ban includes a specific list of firearm models that it bans outright, regardless of features.

Published: January 10, 2023 6:28pm

Updated: January 10, 2023 8:41pm

The Illinois state House backed a statewide ban on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines on Tuesday, sending the bill to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk for signature after the Senate approved the measure earlier this week.

The House voted 68-41 to approve the ban, while the Senate backed it 34-20, according to CBS News. The measure further bans items that increase the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons such as bump stocks. It further limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for pistols.

"For a long time now, I and many other leaders in the Illinois General Assembly have prioritized getting the most dangerous weapons off our state's streets. Today, honoring the commitment we made, we passed one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the nation, one I will be proud to sign," Pritzker said before the House vote.

"This legislation will stop the spread of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and switches and make our state a safer place for all. I look forward to signing this bill immediately, so we can stop the sale of these deadly weapons as soon as possible," he continued.

Existing owners of such weapons may keep them, but will be required to register them with the state. 

The bill defines an assault weapon as a "semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine or that may be readily modified to accept a detachable magazine" should it also include one or more of a number of external features unrelated to the weapon's firing capacity.

Those features include folding, telescoping, thumbhole, or detachable stocks, flash suppressors, grenade launchers, or several others. Certain semiautomatic pistols and shotguns also qualify. Semiautomatic rifles with fixed magazines holding more than 10 rounds fall into that category as well.

The definition follows an increasingly common way of categorizing firearms as "assault weapons," with both the New York SAFE Act and a proposed ban that Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline introduced last year using a similar definition. The House passed Cicilline's ban in 2022, though the measure did not clear the Senate.

Notably, the Illinois ban includes a specific list of firearm models that it bans outright, regardless of features. Among them are the popular AR-15 and AK-47-style rifles. By contrast, under the SAFE Act, one may legally purchase either model should the firearm either not include the external features or be fitted with a maglock that fixes the magazine in place.

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