And they’re not wasting any time ramming it through the legislature. A sweeping gun control bill that would not only ban the sale of so-called assault weapons and require the registration of all legally-owned modern sporting rifles but would block most adults under the age of 21 from accessing their Second Amendment rights could get its first hearing in just a few days, and backers are hoping to get it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk in January.
The Chicago Sun-Times has seen a draft of the bill and provided some details:
The measure would end the sale of assault weapons immediately and allow registration of existing weapons. It also would prevent future sales of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds and tighten regulations to prohibit “rapid-fire devices” that turn firearms that fire one shot per trigger pull into fully automatic weapons.
It also would:
- Raise eligibility for a state firearm owner identification card to 21 for most state residents.
- Extend the duration of a firearm restraining order from six months to one year, including renewed restraining orders.
A separate bill is aimed at encouraging junk lawsuits against gun makers and sellers; seeking to hold them financially responsible for the actions of criminals by allowing lawsuits based on claims of “deceptive marketing practices.”
Note the weasel wording of the proposed gun ban: existing owners would be “allowed” to maintain possession of their “battlefield weapons of war that must be taken off the streets,” but only if they registered their guns (and themselves) with the state. That means that anyone who doesn’t register their lawfully purchased rifle would become a criminal overnight, and likely subject to prison… unlike many violent criminals in cities like Chicago.
In addition to making it a criminal offense to purchase or possess the most commonly-sold rifle in the country, Rep. Bob Morgan’s bill would also completely strip adults under the age of 21 from exercising their right to armed self-defense in their home or in public.
Currently, to get a firearm owner’s identification card needed to own a gun legally in Illinois, an individual must be 21 or older. But a person under 21 can still get a card with the written consent of his or her parent or legal guardian.
The new law would abolish that adult-permission provision but would create an exception for anyone under 21 who serves in the U.S. military or Illinois National Guard. Those under 21 would still be able to go hunting or sports shooting — but only under adult supervision of a parent or guardian with a valid FOID card, according to the new legislation.
The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting or sport shooting, as valuable as both of those activities are. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is predicated on the right of self-defense; a right that’s absolutely gutted for young adults under Morgan’s bill.
As I wrote earlier, the argument that our Second Amendment rights should kick in at 21 simply has no standing in the text, history, or tradition of keeping and bearing arms in this country. A blanket prohibition on gun ownership for young adults isn’t likely to survive a court challenge, and I doubt that Illinois is going to be able to prohibit young adults from being able to obtain a concealed carry license once judges start to weigh in.
In order for SCOTUS to rip this apart, however, the bill first has to become law. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening are pretty good.
The voting threshold for a bill to become effective immediately drops to 60 votes Jan. 1. Democrats currently have 73 members, leaving room for more than a dozen downstate caucus members or others with Second Amendment concerns to stray from the party line.
Democrats added to their supermajority in last month’s elections, picking up five extra seats in the new Illinois General Assembly, which begins Jan. 12. But Morgan said there is no time to waste, and he said he expects the bill to see movement during the lame duck session.
“Gun violence is a daily occurrence. It really can’t wait,” Morgan said. “And I think that our caucus is going to step up and act with the urgency that this demands.”
If that were the case Morgan would be going after violent criminals. This isn’t about “gun violence.” It’s about guns and our constitutionally protected right to own and carry them for self-protection. Morgan’s right that violent crime is a daily occurrence, but it’s not legal gun owners who are the ones responsible. Targeting their commonly-owned firearms or prohibiting gun ownership for all law-abiding adults under the age of 21 won’t touch the relatively small number of prolific criminals who are driving the violence in Chicago’s most-impacted neighborhoods. In fact, Morgan and his Democratic allies are not only treading all over the right of good people in bad neighborhoods to protect themselves, in doing so they’re heartlessly offering false hope to those beleaguered residents who simply want to live their lives in peace.
If we could ban our way to safety, Chicago’s decades-long handgun ban would have provided at least some evidence, but the city’s highest violent crime and homicide rates were actually recorded while the ban was in place back in the late 1980s. “Safety” is just the argument used by Morgan and his anti-2A allies. Criminalizing a fundamental civil right, however, is the goal.