January 11, 2023
With Chicago awash in criminal violence, the Illinois legislature decided to ignore criminals and target lawful gun owners, passing a brand-new state ban on common semi-auto firearms. The measure was quickly signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
The restrictive and arguably unconstitutional measure, House Bill 5471, is a sweeping ban of many firearms including many semi-automatic firearms that lawful gun owners commonly own and use for self-defense, recreation and competition, along with some spare parts for those guns. It also includes a so-called “high-capacity” magazine ban, outlawing handgun magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition and long gun mags that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Other provisions in the law extend provisions of the state’s so-called “red-flag” law from six to 12 months, and even ban .50-caliber firearms and ammunition that are seldom if ever used to commit crimes. The law does have a “grandfather clause” allowing gun owners to keep their banned firearms—IF they register them with the government. And as Firearms News readers know, that’s a temporary situation since registration always leads to confiscation.
Passage of the law brought comments from some Republican legislators who said they didn’t intend to comply. Those statements brought a swift rebuke from Gov. Pritzker, who, in a haughty, threatening manner, assured them the State Police would take care of such matters. See the video of Illinois Govenor Pritzker's full statement here.
“You don’t get to choose with laws you comply with in the state of Illinois,” he said. “There are, of course, people who are trying to politically grandstand who want to make a name for themselves by claiming that they will not comply. But the reality is that the State Police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement all across this state. And they will, in fact, do their job or they won’t be in there.”
His message to law enforcement is clear. Get on board or find a new job. That’s the stick, but for a carrot, the new law exempts retired and active law enforcement from the draconian measures. By threatening their jobs and offering exemption, it’s a blatant attempt to get honorable Illinois LE officers to roll over and accept the new law, without whom enforcement wouldn’t be possible. This is a tough position for any LE officer who upholds the U.S. Constitution; fortunately, it won’t be long before the law is challenged in court.
While Pritzker and anti-gun Illinois legislators must be feeling quite smug now, make no mistake: They will be defending their new ban in court. A brief statement from the Illinois State Rifle & Pistol Association left no doubt about that.
“Dear Gov. Pritzker, President Harmon and Speaker Welch,” read a very brief statement from the ISRA and signed by Richard A. Pearson, the group’s president. “Challenge accepted. The Illinois State Rifle Association will see the State of Illinois in court.”
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years.
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