Defiant Stand: Illinois’ ‘Assault Weapon’ Registration Sees Low Turnout

2nd Amendment – R2KBA Current Events
Source: Illinois State Police and U.S. Census Bureau 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates
Note: Number of registered items includes assault weapons as well as other banned accessories or ammunition.
Visualization: Amy Qin/WBEZ.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A story we’ve been tracking for some time now is the abysmal rate at which Illinoisans are registering their so-called “assault weapons” with the state police (ISP).

This week, a new report from WBEZ put this into sharp relief. The NPR affiliate found that county registration rates ranged from .5 to 1.8 percent.

Compliance percentages were determined based on comparing Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cardholder numbers to the number of people who registered a newly prohibited item under the 2023 Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA).


More than 29,000 licensed gun owners — about 1.2% of the more than 2.4 million statewide — had registered an assault-style weapon by the Jan. 1 deadline this year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. And despite the state police keeping the online registration portal open, the numbers remain low across the state. Another 6,200 registered their weapons in January.

It’s not known how many FOID cardholders in Illinois possess guns that are now banned, but gun advocates and experts suggest that number is in the tens of thousands.

WBEZ goes on to cite a 2022 Washington Post-Ipsos poll that surveyed gun owners across America and found that approximately 20 percent confessed to owning an AR-pattern rifle.

Assuming that nationwide figure holds true in the land of Lincoln, it means that only a tiny fraction of gun owners are compliant. It also means that the vast majority are holding out!

GunsAmerica reached out to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to see why that might be the case.

“The low rates of Illinois gun owners registering their Modern Sporting Rifles could be reflective of the lack of faith these gun owners have in Illinois to safeguard and not abuse this information to achieve a political agenda,” said Mark Oliva, the organization’s managing director of public affairs.

“It could also demonstrate a greater faith among these gun owners that NSSF will ultimately be successful in challenging the unconstitutional law, since NSSF has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case,” Oliva added.

These “outlaws” are also getting support from their local sheriffs. Several have gone on record saying that they will not enforce the PICA (see video below).

“I’ve deemed it from my understanding of case law as unlawful or invalid on its face,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard told NBC Five on Your Side. “My office will not be taking any action on this.”

Of course, those who do not live in pro-gun counties with pro-gun sheriffs run the risk of being prosecuted.

Keep in mind that individuals caught carrying or possessing an unregistered modern sporting rifle could be charged with a misdemeanor. This first-time offense could result in a sentence of up to one year in jail or a fine up to $500.

SEE ALSO: Best 10mm Handguns and Rifles

Subsequent offenses could result in a felony conviction, which would mean a total loss of 2A rights!

Additionally, manufacturing, selling, or purchasing these prohibited items is considered a felony right out the gate. If convicted, this could lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of as much as $25,000!

Even with that on the table, the vast majority of gun owners in Illinois have spoken loud and clear. They’re not going to capitulate to an unconstitutional registration mandate. Now, it’s time for SCOTUS to have their back.

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  • Kane February 24, 2024, 10:09 am

    “As are all law enforcement all across our state and they will in fact do their job or they won’t be in their job,” -Jay Bob Pritzker

    Pritzker thought he could fire the LEO’s in the various Sheriff departments.

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