The Illinois State Senate passed HB 1465 on Wednesday, a bill banning the sale of certain types of semi-automatic weapons to individuals under age 21. The bill would also make owning such a weapon below that age a Class 3 felony for a first offense and a Class 2 felony for a second offense.
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. Those individuals currently owning the weapons would be required to surrender them within 90 days.
According to WAND-TV, the bill passed by a vote of 33 to 22. It previously passed the House, but must go back to the House for reconciliation after lawmakers added an amendment that 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.
The amendment was added to attract Republican votes to the bill, but Mahomet Republican state Sen. Chapin Rose 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.
“Never mind the fact that you’re an innocent person and you’re in shackles and have been taken to jail and booked and your mugshot is now on TV,” said Sen. Rose.
The Illinois State Senate also passed HB 1467 on Wednesday, which bans bump stocks and trigger cranks in the state, and added an amendment to that bill allowing localities to ban what it defines as assault weapons, potentially creating different gun laws on a town-by-town basis in the state.
In addition, the Illinois House of Representatives recently passed HB 1468, which would impose a 72-hour waiting period on purchases of items defined as assault weapons under the bill. The Senate has yet to vote on the measure.
The Illinois General Assembly is controlled by a Democratic majority. Illinois Republican Governor Bruce 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.