By Joanna Williams

The historic assault weapons ban signed by Gov Pritzker Jan 10, 2023.

What’s in the legislation?  The key details:

  • Immediately ends the sale, delivery and purchase of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  Included in the legislation is a comprehensive, detailed and updated list of the assault weapons subject to the ban (currently over 170 weapons are on the list).
  • Those already owning guns on the banned list would have to provide information to the Illinois State Police.
  • Immediately bans the possession and use of rapid-fire devices that increase the firing rate of semiautomatic weapons.
  • Expedites the implementation of universal background checks.

Why was it successful this time after previous attempts failed?

  • Though efforts to ban assault weapons had been tried for years, the catalyst this time was the Highland Park mass shooting that killed seven and injured dozens.
  • A campaign organization was formed that included some of the biggest players in Chicago business, politics and political consulting.
  • The Protect Illinois Communities Campaign hired top strategists, communications people, pollsters, messaging professionals and lobbyists to create a campaign to inform lawmakers and motivate voters.
  • Both the House and Senate held working groups that included high-profile advocacy groups like Everytown, Brady, Giffords and the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action.
  • The timing: Gov Pritzker wanted the bill on his desk during the lame-duck session.  (fewer votes are needed to pass legislation then and he wanted to start his second term with a big win).
  • All but one Republican in the House opposed the bill outright, and gun manufacturers warned of lawsuits.  Senator Don Harmon responded “The weapons on this list were designed to do one thing and one thing only: kill people. We’ll see you in court”.
  • After some back and forth, an agreement was reached between the House and Senate versions and Gov Pritzker signed the bill into law on Tuesday Jan 10, making Illinois the ninth state to ban assault weapons.