Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing once again for sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws in the wake of another deadly shooting in Chicago.
On Sunday, Gov. Quinn touted the merits of the Illinois Public Safety Act, also known as Senate Bill 3659, a bill that would place a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines as well as mandate background checks for all firearm transfers, including those made between private buyers and sellers.
“The recent epidemic of violence in Chicago is unacceptable and we must join together to fight back,” said the Democratic governor. “Public safety is government’s foremost mission and Illinois should not wait any longer to act. There are too many victims of a war being waged on our streets, a war fueled in part by the availability of deadly, military-style assault weapons that have no purpose other than killing.”
“We must work together to protect the lives of those we love and stop what’s happening in our communities,” Quinn continued. “I urge the Illinois General Assembly to take a stand and pass this legislation that will save lives and protect communities.”
The Illinois Public Safety Act was sponsored by state Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), and in addition to banning the sale, purchase, delivery and possession of “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, it would also place a ban on .50 caliber rifles and rounds in the state. The bans wouldn’t be retroactive, meaning valid Firearms Identification Card (FOID) holders who currently possess these firearms and accessories would be allowed to keep them, but they would not be allowed to transfer or sell them except to a family member.
“This is a common-sense solution to preventing gun violence and keeping our children and families safe,” Senator Kotowski said. “This measure will protect our communities by ensuring that military-style assault weapons are off the streets and out of hands of criminals.”
Naturally, the nation’s gun lobby was sharply critical of the measure, noting that it mirrors current laws in New York and Connecticut that are now being challenged in court due to their dubious constitutional standing.
“SB 3659 embodies the anti-gunner ‘wish list’ in Illinois,” said the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This legislation is a comprehensive anti-gun package which echoes the unconstitutional legislation passed in New York and Connecticut last year. The laws passed in those states are currently subject to lawsuits due to their significant infringement on Second Amendment rights.”
The Illinois Public Safety Act was introduced in the spring Legislative session. At the end of the session, it was still under committee review. It’s Quinn’s hope that this latest public appeal will spur support for the legislation.