The White House is celebrating Illinois becoming the ninth state to ban "assault weapons," calling it "meaningful action" amid the battle over the infringement of Second Amendment guns rights granted in the Constitution.
"Illinois has now become the ninth state across America to pass an assault weapons ban and take bold action to keep weapons of war off America's streets," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote in a statement Wednesday. "Today, President [Joe] Biden commends the leadership of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Speaker Chris Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, Rep. Bob Morgan and the numerous advocates, survivors, and elected officials whose tireless efforts turned the pain of Highland Park and other acts of gun violence into meaningful action on behalf of all Illinoisans."
Pritzker signed legislation Tuesday banning the sale and distribution of semiautomatic weapons, high-capacity magazines, and switches in his state. The law was driven largely by the killing of seven people at a Fourth of July parade last year in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.
"Gov. Pritzker's gun ban blatantly violates our Second Amendment rights," Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., tweeted Monday night. "Illinois Democrats have fought to release dangerous criminals onto the streets, defund the police, and take away your Second Amendment right to defend yourself. The legal battle begins!"
Illinois is the ninth state, in addition to Washington, D.C., to prohibit the sale or possession of semiautomatic weapons — a goal the Democrats under control of the past Congress had hoped to achieve.
"Too many Americans across the country continue to lose their lives or their loved ones to gun violence," Jean-Pierre's statement continued. But many Republicans counter that there has been a crime wave generated by Democrats' anti-policing policies amid the calls for defunding the police under the pressure of Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd during the 2020 presidential election cycle.
"This is why President Biden has taken historic action to reduce gun violence, including signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — the first significant piece of gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years — into law last summer. The president has continued to press for more action to keep our homes, schools, and communities safe, including federal laws requiring background checks for all gun sales and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
"In the meantime, he continues to urge other states to join California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Washington, D.C. — and now, Illinois — to ban assault weapons at the state level to save lives."
All those states are run by Democrats.
Conservatives who support the Second Amendment argue gun laws do not work, because criminals do not obey the laws that exist, so passing more is unlikely to get criminals to change their illegal actions.
Chicago, the state's largest city, suffered 723 homicides in 2022.
"Not only does this tyrannical proposition infringe on the rights of all Illinois citizens, but it is also extremely dangerous," Gun Owners of America said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "These commonly owned semi-automatic firearms are used countless times every year to save lives and deter crime. Banning them will only prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing the best firearm to defend themselves. Not to mention, the requirement to register currently owned firearms is vehemently unconstitutional."
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