Everytown, Giffords, Brady Call on Illinois Senate Lawmakers to Pass Strong and Enforceable Assault Weapons Prohibition, Part of Critical Protect Illinois Communities Act
Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, and Brady issued the following statements urging Illinois Senate lawmakers to pass an assault weapons prohibition that is comprehensive and can be fully implemented and enforced. This prohibition is part of the Protect Illinois Communities Act, a critical gun violence prevention legislative package currently on the Senate floor.
Requiring current owners of assault weapons who wish to keep those firearms after the law goes into effect to register their weapons with the state protects public safety and the rights of law abiding gun owners. A system that clearly identifies grandfathered assault weapons and their current lawful owners–including unique information like the firearm’s serial numbers– is necessary to ensure that law enforcement officials can identify illegal assault weapons in the months and years ahead and get them off the streets of Illinois communities. On Friday, the Illinois House passed their version of the legislative package, including this critical provision. We endorse the House’s version of the legislation, specifically the inclusion of this critical measure.
“Ensuring all grandfathered assault weapons are quickly and clearly identifiable is a crucial step toward making assault weapon prohibitions enforceable and protecting public safety,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This is a common feature of assault weapon prohibitions in other states, and is a vital tool for law enforcement and a safeguard for lawful gun owners. Everytown endorses the Illinois House’s version of this omnibus gun safety package, including the inclusion of serial number as part of the assault weapons registration process.”
“Requiring current owners of assault weapons to report their serial numbers is a critical element of a strong assault weapons ban and would ensure that law enforcement can properly implement and enforce the law and protect Illinois families and communities,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “The people of Illinois deserve a strong piece of legislation and Brady urges the Illinois Senate to pass the House version of this much needed legislation.
“We must give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on gun traffickers. This means ensuring that existing assault weapons can be readily identified and traced back to the point of sale,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Giffords. “Giffords strongly endorses the House's version of the bill and calls for its swift passage.”
Using unique information, such as serial numbers, to identify grandfathered assault weapons allows law enforcement officers to quickly and reliably identify firearms that are not subject to the state prohibition and who may lawfully possess them. Simply put, it makes it possible to tell which guns are illegal and which are not. This is a crucial feature for ensuring that assault weapons prohibitions are fully and fairly enforced.This implementation and enforcement measure is included in the majority of the states with bans.
Banning assault weapons is a life saving measure. Assault weapons are exceptionally deadly firearms commonplace in mass shootings. They are generally capable of firing far more bullets, far faster than manual-action hunting rifles. Prohibiting assault weapons can prevent mass shooting injuries and deaths.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act was introduced during the Illinois veto session in December. It includes legislation that would prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, facilitate better implementation and efficacy of Illinois’s Firearm Restraining Order (FRPO) law, and address illegal gun trafficking in the state. The package introduction comes following a year that saw at least 23 mass shootings across the country, including one in Highland Park, where seven people were shot and killed and an additional 48 people were wounded at a July Fourth parade.
In an average year, 1,505 people die and 2,715 people are wounded by guns in Illinois. Gun violence costs Illinois $18.6 billion each year, of which $625.5 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Illinois here.