This post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds
The state legislature of Illinois has approved a bill, HB 1465, which:
- Requires 18 to 20-year-olds to hand over or transfer ownership of heretofore legally possessed “assault weapons” — which the NRA-ILA describes as commonly-owned “semi-automatic firearms” — as well as any magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.
- Bans the sale of certain types of semi-automatic weapons to individuals under age 21.
- Makes owning such a weapon by persons under age 21 a Class 3 felony for a first offense and a Class 2 felony for a second offense.
The government forcing people to forfeit or hand over weapons previously deemed legal is confiscation.
On February 28, 2018, the bill was passed by a vote of 64-51 in the State House of Representatives. On March 14, 2018, the Illinois State Senate passed the bill by a vote of 33-22. Both the House and Senate are controlled by a Democrat majority.
HB 1465 was introduced in Illinois’ Senate by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago). There were 7 co-sponsors, among whom was Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis, whom the NRA had given an “A” rating in 2014.
The bill deviates from the traditional military definition of assault rifle, requiring the weapon to be capable of selective fire options like three round bursts and fully-automatic, and instead defines it as any semi-automatic rifle or pistol with a belt or magazine fed system capable of more than 10 rounds or featuring a folding stock or the ability to accept tactical attachments such as scopes. The definition also includes some .50 caliber rifles.
Critics of the gun confiscation bill were taken aback by “the idea that the government would confiscate property.” The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Michelle Mussman, responded to these concerns by assuring them “authorities will not visit homes to pick up weapons.” Rather, “a first offense for getting caught with prohibited firearms would be a misdemeanor offense.”
After the state Senate passed the bill, HB 1465 must go back to the House for reconciliation because the Senate added an amendment, meant to attract Republican support for the bill, which would allow individuals who owned such weapons prior to the passage of the law to use that fact as an affirmative defense when facing felony charges under the legislation.
But Sen. Chapin Rose (R) told Watchdog.org that the amendment would not necessarily protect owners of the weapons from facing felony charges if they do not surrender them. He believes the bill should have exempted current owners of the weapons from facing charges, rather than just offering them an affirmative defense while under arrest.
If Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signs the bill, HB 1465 will become law. Residents under the age of 21 will have 90 days to turn over the guns and magazines.
Rauner recently vetoed a bill that would have required gun retailers to be licensed by the state, claiming that to be “unnecessary, burdensome regulation.” Gubernatorial vetoes can be overturned by a three-fifths majority vote in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly.
Illinois also recently passed other gun control bills in addition to the gun confiscation HB 1465: