The recently enacted Illinois “assault weapons” legislation prohibits the possession, sale, or production of an extensive range of semiautomatic rifles and handguns classified as “assault weapons,” as well as high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more rounds for rifles and 15 or more for handguns. Exceptions to this ban include law enforcement officers and active military members.
As per the legislation, existing owners of these weapons can retain them, but they must register with the Illinois State Police by January 1, 2024. Additionally, the law imposes restrictions on who current owners can sell or transfer their weapons to. The law contains various levels of criminal offenses. Learn more about the different levels here.
The city of Chicago approved one in 2013 while Cook County enacted its own ban on specific semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines in 2006.
Is it constitutional?
That’s well out of my scope as a defense attorney in Herrin, Illinois, but according to Federal Judge Lindsay C. Jenkins, it probably is. Similar laws have been upheld the courts as constitutional.
In the Bruen decision (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 2022), the Supreme Court removed consideration of a law’s ability to protect the public. Instead, they said that a judge can only consider whether the law is consistent with “historical tradition of firearms registration.” Since many similar have been on the books in cities, counties, and states across the country for decades, Judge Jenkins may be right.
What does it mean for you?
If the law is upheld, it will mean that if you own a weapon meeting the definitions in the law, you will need to register your firearms with the state. The law bans the possession, sale, or manufacture of many semi-automatic rifles and handguns. Law enforcement and active-duty military personnel are exempt.
If you own one of these weapons, you can keep it. You simply need to register it with the Illinois State Police.
I don’t know if the Supreme Court will uphold this law, but for now, as defense attorney. I would plan on registering your weapons or getting rid of it by January 1. One of the arguments for gun rights is that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to own guns. If you don’t register your assault weapons by January 1, you’re technically no longer a law abiding citizen.
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Image By BigBattles – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6814268