This week, the Senate passed three gun safety reform bills.
House Bill 1465 makes it illegal for anyone younger than age of 21 to possess or purchase an assault weapon, assault weapon attachment, .50 caliber rifle, .50 caliber cartridge, or magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In addition, the bill includes a list of circumstances in which someone charged with unlawful possession of the aforementioned items, with the exception of a magazine, is able to use an affirmative defense, meaning the accused could potentially negate criminal or civil liability. One example of an affirmative defense is a case of self-defense.
House Bill 1467 makes any sale, purchase or possession of a bump stock or a trigger crank illegal 90 days after the law goes into effect. House Bill 1467 also bumps the possession of these items up to a Class 2 felony, which carries a mandatory three to seven year prison sentence. However, if one of these devices is attached to a weapon, it automatically becomes a Class X felony and has a mandatory six to 30 year prison sentence. Additionally, the legislation amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act to allow local governments to enact their own assault weapons bans.
House Bill 1468 requires a 72-hour waiting period to obtain assault weapons, which are defined as certain semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, semi-automatic pistols, and .50 caliber rifles. In addition, the sale of these assault weapons to non-state residents is now prohibited at gun shows and is considered a Class 4 felony.
Also this week, Gov. Rauner vetoed a bill (Senate Bill 1647) that would require the state to license and regulate all gun shops. The Governor vetoed the bill because he noted it is duplicative and unnecessary. The federal government already licenses all firearms retailers, and critics of this bill say adding another layer of oversight would be costly and ineffective in terms of public safety.