The Illinois House passed an assault weapons ban bill in the early morning hours of Friday.
Six months after the deadly Independence Day shooting in Highland Park, legislation prohibiting the sale of assault rifles, rapid fire devices, and magazines over 12 rounds passed on the House floor after hours of debate 64-43.
State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville said in the floor debate that the new law is only aimed at legal gun owners and not aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or fixing what he sees is the root of the problem: “We continue to give leeway to criminals who break current laws. Is there anything in this bill that enhances gun crime?”
Davidsmeyer was answered and there is no gun crime enhancement penalties in the bill. Davidsmeyer went on: “So, all we are doing here, we are talking about gun crime…we’re talking about urban gun crime…we’re talking about mental health issues, and these are two things we are not combating in this. We are going after legal gun owners who have done nothing wrong. 99.9% have done nothing wrong and we’re going after these individuals.”
Davidsmeyer agrees there is a problem with gun crime in the state, but he doesn’t feel the ban is the solution. He says that resources spent on school safety and mental health would create more gun crime prevention.
Governor J.B. Pritzker was present on the House floor early Friday morning, applauding the passage of the bill and speaking with fellow Democrats who worked on the measure.
Advocates say something must be done to stop violence and wanted to stress to the public that no one was coming to take away their guns. According to the House measure on Friday, those currently owning an assault weapon would have the serial number recorded with their FOID Card information with the Illinois State Police.
On Sunday, the State Senate filed its version of the bill removing the serial number provision. The Senate version also reduced the number of weapons covered by the bill and would grandfather in high-capacity magazines.
Governor J.B. Pritzker and advocates reacted swiftly calling the Senate version watered down: “Every time a weapon of war is used to inflict the maximum amount of damage in the shortest amount of time we mourn for the lives lost and communities shattered. Enough is enough. The people of this state deserve a real assault weapons ban, one that has a real accounting of the weapons currently in circulation and a real chance at ceasing the flow of more weapons of war immediately. We need a bill that meets the urgency of now and the current version in the Senate falls short.”
A vote in the final two days of the lame duck session could come tonight.