On the heels of the passage of a gun dealer licensing bill, a freshman upstate senator has introduced a bill to register and ban "assault weapons."
Julie A. Morrison is a member of the Illinois Senate from the 29th District, which includes all or parts of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Bannockburn, Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Northbrook and North Chicago, introduced Senate Bill 107 last week. The bill is aimed at making owners register and/or banning "assault weapons" outright in the state of Illinois.
Morrison (D-Deerfield) applauded Gov. J.B. Pritzker for signing Senate Bill 337, a gun dealer certification measure that became law.
"This law will make our communities safer by bringing more transparency and accountability to the process of purchasing a weapon," said Morrison, a chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 337 and ardent supporter of sensible efforts to curb gun violence in Illinois.
The measure requires firearms dealers to certify with the Illinois State Police, train employees in conducting background checks and take steps to prevent theft that leads to firearms trafficking.
"Legislators on both sides of the aisle negotiated several years to make this bill happen," Morrison said. "I am pleased that we now have one more tool to help fight gun violence across our state."
In the upcoming 101st legislative session, Morrison has vowed to continue working to reduce the threat of gun violence, ensure Illinois' most vulnerable residents have access to quality and essential services and increase transparency and efficiency in all levels of state government.
Morrison introduced SB 107 to the 101st General Assembly on Wednesday. The bill amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly possess an assault weapon 300 days after the effective date of the amendatory Act, except possession of weapons registered with the Department of State Police in the time provided. Provides exemptions and penalties.
"Assault weapon" means a semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a large capacity magazine detachable or otherwise and one or more of the many features previously described on other assault weapon bans. "Assault weapon" includes, but is not limited to, the assault weapon models identifying by model some 70 weapons and their variants including AK-47, AR-15 and AR-10 variations.
The bill also limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds in most weapons.
The law does give the option of registering each "assault weapon" with the Illinois State Police for a fee of $25 each. Registration includes his or her name; date of birth; Firearm Owner's Identification Card number; the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the weapon; and proof of a locking mechanism that properly fits the weapon. The affidavit shall include a statement that the weapon is owned by the person submitting the affidavit and that he or she owns a locking mechanism for the weapon.
The penalty for a person who knowingly delivers, sells, purchases,or possesses or causes to be delivered, sold, purchased, or possessed an assault weapon in violation of the law commits a Class 3 felony for a first violation and a Class 2 felony for a second or subsequent violation. A person who knowingly delivers, sells, purchases, or possesses or causes to be delivered, sold, purchased, or possessed in violation of this Section an assault weapon attachment commits a Class 4 felony for a first violation and a Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent violation.
Several opponents to the bill are already pointing out that the wide description also includes many popular hunting shotguns, and rifles. It was also noted that all of that same information is already required when a person purchase any firearm through a dealer, by federal law, and when transferring a firearm by Illinois state law.
State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), did not specifically comment on SB-107, but does want to remind voter that new bills must go through a lengthy process.
"While the new legislative session has yet to begin in earnest, there are already 75 new legislative measures filed with the Senate, while in the House of Representatives, 484 proposals have been filed for consideration," said Righter. "Over the next several months, the legislation will be heard by dozens of committees - in each chamber - before final votes are taken, most of which occur in May."
"New legislation is assigned to committees, based on subject matter. Each committee will hold one or more public hearings, hear testimony - for and against the proposals - before taking an initial vote. Once a proposal wins committee approval, it moves on to the respective chambers for additional debate and approval," said Righter.
The Illinois General Assembly has a detailed explanation of the legislative process on the "How a Bill Becomes a Law" webpage.
Lawmakers return to the State Capitol today. Senate Committee hearings are already scheduled.