CHICAGO — Illinois lawmakers are holding their first hearing on a proposal to ban assault rifles.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act was introduced by state Rep. Bob Morgan who was at the Highland Park July 4th parade shooting when it happened. The House of Judiciary committee heard from survivors of gun violence including those of the Highland Park shooting.
“I can’t call myself a survivor because I haven’t survived this. It still hurts,” said Gwendoyln Baxter a woman who lost her son who was a victim of an attempted robbery in 2016
Prosecutors say the Highland Park gunman legally purchased two assault style rifles before the age of 21 that he used to kill seven people in the parade.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act would ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and rapid-fire devices. It would also raise the age of obtaining a FOID card from 18 to 21 unless the person applying for the card is a member of the military.
Individuals who already own these weapons will have to register them and pay a $25 fee.
Past efforts to ban assault rifles have failed in Springfield but Democrats have a super majority and Gov. JB Pritzker has expressed support of the proposed ban.
When asked why active measures were only taken when the shooting happened in a predominately white community like Highland Park for him to pass a bill like this, Morgan stated:
“Lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for not acting on this issue sooner.”
Morgan hopes to get the act passed by January 10 in the state legislature.