SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gun violence prevention experts took center stage in the second hearing on an assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban Thursday.
Weapons that are a part of the ban include semi-automatic weapons. The bill would also make it illegal to manufacture, buy, sell, deliver, or own .50 caliber rifles and cartridges.
“Research has shown that bans on these lethal weapons are associated with significant reductions in the rate of fatal mass shooting incidents and victims killed,” Delrice Adams, the executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, said. “When assault weapons are used they have an outsized impact on injury and death.”
From 1994 to 2004, an assault weapons ban was in place at the federal level. State data shows in those 10 years, gun violence associated with assault weapons went down 40%.
“However, since the expiration of this ban, the number of mass shooting deaths has grown by nearly 500%,” Adams said.
Lawmakers also expressed their views on the ban.
“There’s no place for private ownership of assault style weapons, I think that is something that is not going to protect your home,” Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake) said.
But not everyone is onboard with the proposal. Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Sterling), who will be the new House minority leader, is against the bill saying it won’t address what’s causing gun violence.
“We do need to focus on solutions that are going to make our communities safer, as we’ve heard from the previous witnesses, but if this passes, it’s going to be ineffective and unconstitutional,” McCombie said.
Artinese Myrick, the lead organizer for Live Free Illinois, said while the group supports an assault weapons ban, they oppose any proposal that would hurt Black and Brown communities.
They’re also against raising the FOID card age limit to 21.
“We are concerned that law-abiding citizens may be wrapped up in the system if they are not able to obtain weapons through the proper channels,” Myrick said. “For Black and Brown communities who are over policed, we have more individuals who are susceptible to being swept up and forgotten in the system.”
Opponents have also argued that people using guns to commit crimes would bring weapons from other states. If the legislation passes, the Illinois State Police would have to ramp up patrols on state highways to prevent gun trafficking.
Currently, data shows less than half of gun crimes in Illinois involve weapons used from different states.
Earlier this week, survivors of gun violence testified in support of the ban.