SPRINGFIELD (WCIA) – Hundreds of gun control advocates and faith leaders descended to the state capitol Thursday calling on lawmakers to pass the assault weapons ban.
“There is no place for weapons of war on our streets, in our grocery stores, in our shopping centers, our concert halls, our dance clubs, our parades our houses of worship, or our schools,” Rabbi Reni Dickman, said.
The proposal, which also bans high-capacity magazines, passed the House early Friday morning and now heads to the Senate.
Gun control advocates all have said now is the time to pass the ban.
“The legislators here today have a chance to make it stop today,” Victoria Hilton, a member of Moms Demand Action, one of the groups that back the ban, said.
Hilton and her family were at the Highland Park parade during this summer’s mass shooting.
That day, she and her son were hit with shrapnel.
“It needs everybody to understand that if it hasn’t hit your community yet, it will,” Hilton said. “It’s coming to your community, whether you like it or not, and you cannot wait until it affects you personally, for it to matter to you.”
Also taking to the podium to speak – young activists.
“The reason young people are on the frontlines in the fight against gun violence is because we have no choice,” Rachel Jacoby, the youth leader for March for Our Lives, said. “We have no choice because gun violence robbed us of our innocence,” Jacoby said.
Jacoby, a student and a Highland Park resident, remembered the first active shooter drill she went through in school at 7 years old. “That drill was fake, but the trauma that young people have endured from gun violence is real,” Jacoby said.
Gun rights advocates oppose the legislation. Kourtney Redmond, the Illinois State Director for the National African American Gun Association, said the bill will hurt African American communities, arguing that African Americans were the leading demographic to purchase firearms in 2020 and 2021, specifically African American women.
“We want to make it more expensive; we want to make it more trying, and we want to restrict the Black community from their rights,” Redmond said. “It is their right, it’s their Second Amendment right. We have to fight for that right.”
Another pro-gun advocate feared the new law would criminalize legal gun owners.
“[The bill] also doesn’t state if there’s any kind of amnesty for an individual who is not very well versed in firearms components and does not understand they needed to register their firearm under the registration components of this.” Ken Sullivan of the Illinois State Rifle Association said. “This very adversely affects Illinois hunters and sport shooters throughout the entire state.”