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Illinois’s Dem Gov Cracks Down on Gun Owners With Draconian Weapons Ban

Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker (Ill.) on Tuesday signed one of the most extensive weapon bans in the country, outlawing the sale of nearly 170 so-called assault weapons.

The “Protect Illinois Communities Act” bans the sale and distribution of certain pistols, shotguns, and rifles including AR-15s. The law, which passed through the state’s Democratic legislature, also bans “high capacity magazines” and “switches” that can make handguns fully automatic.

Illinoisans can keep weapons that fall under the ban if they already own them but must register the weapons by Jan. 1, 2024—or face a Class 2 Felony for failing to provide authorities the location of their “weapon of war.”

The law has sparked immediate backlash among state law enforcement: More than two dozen sheriffs across the state say they will not enforce the law.

“This bill puts us in a bind on the oath we took as sheriffs to uphold the Constitution and constitution of Illinois,” McHenry County sheriff Robb Tadelman told Chicago’s ABC 7.

Illinois is now the ninth state to ban “assault weapons”—but its new law could soon face legal challenges in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down New York’s restrictions on concealed handgun carry. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, whose majority opinion was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, also created a new test for Second Amendment cases.

New regulations must be “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” the Supreme Court ruled. Modern feelings toward gun rights are not grounds for restricting the constitutional guarantee, according to the Court.

The Illinois State Rifle Association and other groups are preparing to sue Illinois. Dan Eldridge, board member at the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, which is seeking relief from the courts, said the law is “not going to last.”

“We will win, and when we’re done with this, we’ll have an energized membership base, we’ll have a pretty big war chest and we’ll go after everything else that we can,” Eldridge said.

The Biden administration celebrated the law’s passage: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre this week said Biden “commends the leadership” of Pritzker, who took “bold action to keep weapons of war off America’s streets.”

State Republicans, meanwhile, say the law is unenforceable.

“I don’t think the majority of gun owners are going to register, and I’m not sure who’s going to round them all up,” said state representative C.D. Davidsmeyer.

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