Illinois State Police encourage registration of assault-style weapons

Illinois State Police are urging gun owners in the state to register their assault-style weapons in compliance with the Protect Illinois Communities Act, which went into effect at the start of the year.

The legislation prohibits the sale of 170 firearms, but owners of previously possessed weapons can maintain them if they are registered with the state before January 1, 2024.

Online registration for the firearms began earlier this month, but as of Friday, less than 10 percent of Illinois gun owners have completed the registration process.

Gun store owners in Illinois have voiced strong opposition to the ban, claiming it is "blatantly unconstitutional." However, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Protect Our Communities Act does not violate the federal Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law, nor does it breach the state constitution's prohibition on special legislation.

The law not only bans the sale of assault weapons but also limits the purchase of magazines to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 for handguns. Additionally, it makes rapid-fire devices, often referred to as "switches," illegal as they have the capacity to transform firearms into fully automatic weapons.

Illinois is one of ten states, along with the District of Columbia, with gun bans similar to the one in place. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York have also implemented registration requirements for firearms purchased prior to the law. In contrast, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington do not require such registration.

The Illinois legislation was largely driven by a tragic incident that occurred at a 4th of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park last year, where seven people lost their lives. The shooter in this incident was armed with an AR-15 rifle and 30-round magazines.