Here We Go Again – IL Assault Weapon Ban

   Senator Ira Silverstein (D) from the 8th district introduced another assault weapons ban, SB3297.  While it’s no SAFE act, it contains plenty of its own stumbles, inanities, unreasonableness. If you guessed his district is in Chicago, you’re right. Apparently the assault weapons ban that already covers his entire district isn’t strict enough for his liking. He introduced this new bill two days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida. The bill is currently waiting without any apparent traction. Perhaps it will wither in committee like many of its predecessors have before.

The format of the bill is the same as the last several bills that have passed through various government bodies. For the quick overview, the bill defines assault weapons by evil features, includes the usual list of firearms banned by name (with some new additions), creates a new term “Assault weapon attachment” it criminalizes transferring a .50 BMG rifle, assault weapon transfers, transfers of magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

The evil features for semi-auto rifles are being able to accept a “Large capacity ammunition feeding device” and ONE of the following:

  • “Only a pistol grip without a stock attached” (yes, I know, other than an SBR, it’s pretty much the defining characteristic of “not a rifle”)
  • “Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand” (interesting choice to ban vertical and angled foregrips)
  • “Folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock” (a classic – they hate guns that will fit in your trunk, can be used by both tall and short people, or are comfortable to hold)
  • “A muzzle brake or muzzle compensator” (odd that they don’t mention flash suppressors. Or grenade launchers. Maybe they caught too much mockery for that.)

   But here’s the kicker:

  • “A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel”

   Handguards The bill bans handguards; even though they specifically identified the intended and legitimate use of handguards, or “shrouds” as they are labeled in the bill. Handguards prevent people from hurting themselves while using a firearm.  Somehow, personal protective equipment is a banned feature. Do they hope to stop potential mass shooters by burning their hands? I guess a ban on oven-mitts will be forthcoming.

Oddly enough, a semi-auto rifle with a fixed magazine that takes more than ten rounds becomes an assault weapon outright, no matter what features it does or doesn’t have. There’s a situation where you would legally be able to transfer a post-ban rifle that accepted pre-ban 100 round beta mags, but you couldn’t transfer a pre-ban gun with a bullet button and a 30 round magazine. I guess they really hated bullet-buttons.

   Semi-auto pistols also have a similar list:

  • “Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand” (VFG again, but that’s already covered by the Federal AOW definition)
  • “A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock” (pretty much the definition of SBR and “not a handgun”)
  • “A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel.” (Finally, we get close the original definition of a barrel shroud, like on a MAC-10 pistol)
  • “A muzzle brake or muzzle compensator” (politicians love recoil)
  • “The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside the pistol grip” (takes care of those pesky AR pistols and the ever classic Tec-9)

   Semi-auto shotguns:

  • “Pistol grip only without a stock attached” (I’m curious if the Shockwave grip qualifies as an actual pistol grip or not, since I cannot find it defined by IL law)
  • “Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand”
  • “A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock”
  • “A fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds”
  • “An ability to accept detachable [sic] magazine”

On page 3, line 14 they ban any shotgun with a revolving cylinder. This one hits home, since my Grandpa owns a Rossi Circuit Judge that he uses to hunt squirrels and rabbits. They literally want to ban my grandfather’s hunting shotgun.

Taking a note from the ATF on constructive possession. The bill bans “a conversion kit, part or combination of parts, from which an assault weapon can be assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person;

Next comes the big, long list of guns banned by name, including “copies or duplicates” of those guns. There’s the usual list of machineguns and scary rifles that has been copy/pasted for years – AK, AKM, AK-47, AK-74, TEC-9, AR-15, Bushmaster XM-15, Uzi, etc. There are a few new additions to the list, like the [sic] Kel-Tec Sub Rifle, the Tavor, and most notably the Hi-point carbine. The most affordable home defense rifle available, specifically designed to comply with every single part of this law and others like it, has been specifically targeted for a gun ban. A Hi-point carbine ban is a direct attack on gun ownership for low-income families; those must desperate for a means of self-defense.

They then insert a specific exemption for “weapons designed for Olympic target shooting events” because of the Olympic sporting complex down in Sparta, and possibly the hopes of the Olympics ever coming to Chicago. These weapons and features all require banning for public safety, except public safety can take a back seat if you’re competing for the world stage and are bringing in money for Chicago.

The bill defines”.50 caliber cartridge” as .50 BMG, either by designation or actual measurement. .510 DTC wouldn’t fit this definition, since the case measurements are different, the cartridge is different. Muzzleloaders, antiques, and shotguns are exempted from the .50 caliber ban.

“Large capacity ammunition feeding device” defined as a magazine belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds. Also includes constructive possession or readily restored or converted, so repair kits are out. Tube magazines for “.22 caliber rimfire” are exempt.

“Transfer means a delivery, loan, rental, or sale.” Transfers are only legal to an heir, an out-of-state resident, or an FFL.  This definition creates another odd scenario. It would be illegal to rent a semi-auto assault weapon at a range, but perfectly legal to rent a fully-automatic machinegun, so long as it was supplied with 10 round magazines.

   The sentences are, of course, all felonies. They’ll use this to take away your remaining rights, not only to effective self-defense, but to vote as well.

Delivering a banned magazine or “assault weapon attachment” is a class 4 felony for the first offense, class 3 for a second offense or more. Class 4 felonies are the least severe felonies in IL and carry a minimum prison term of one year. Class 4 felonies include felony DUI, aggravated assault, and stalking.

Transferring an assault weapon or .50 caliber rifle is a Class 3 felony. Class 3 felonies carry a sentence of two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Examples are aggravated battery, and theft (between $300 and $2,000).

A second offense, or transferring 2 or more assault weapons, is a Class 2 felony. A Class 2 felony is punishable by three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Class 2 felonies include arson, and some drug possession (2 kg but not more than 5 kg of marijuana), as well as theft of $2,000 to $10,000.

It should be noted that according to the FBI, there were 14 murders in Illinois in 2016 that were committed with a rifle of any type, not just an assault weapon. 5 were committed with shotguns. These out of a total of 941 murders.

   Grandpa handing me his hunting shotgun to go hunt squirrels in the woods would be the same as “Intentionally or knowingly [causing] great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement” in the eyes of the law.