MCGOP Communications Manager
McLean County Republicans Communications Manager Carl Wenning stated recently that “The Protect Illinois Communities Act will criminalize otherwise law-abiding citizens for doing nothing.” The Act mandates the registration by owners of certain firearms that the Act defines as “assault weapons." The law goes into effect on January 1, 2024. (Click on the above title to continue if necessary.)
In early August, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s prohibition on what is commonly referred to as assault weapons as well as large magazines. As of October 1, the Illinois State Police (ISP) is allowing individuals to register firearms and large magazines that they acquired before the law’s enactment. However, this development is causing dissent among legitimate Illinois gun owners.
Wenning believes that some gun owners will resist the registration process. “This Act does little to improve public safety and serves primarily to criminalize law-abiding gun owners who refuse to register their weapons. Some who plan to resist the mandate believe this law is an unconstitutional infringement of their federal Second Amendment rights. Some will refuse to register, believing that registration is little more than a precursor to gun seizure by government authorities, as has often been the case historically.”
According to an October 2 Chicago Tribune article (carried in the October 3 Pantagraph), the first offense will be treated as a misdemeanor, and later offenses will be treated as felonies. Also according to that report, a substantial number of Illinois sheriffs have gone on record indicating that they will not enforce that law due to its perceived unconstitutionality under federal law.
Wenning added, “The Bill of Rights protects all Americans from government excesses, but progressives are slowly eroding these rights in the name of social justice and safety; progressives continually seek to chip away at our right to personal protection that the Second Amendment offers.”
Republicans generally believe that the Second Amendment was written to protect citizens from tyranny, not merely to ensure hunting rights. According to Wenning, “Republicans value the right of American citizens to protect themselves from oppressive governments, foreign and domestic.”
According to the ISP, individuals who have legally owned an “assault weapon” before January 10, 2023, may retain ownership if they submit an affidavit of ownership to the ISP. To be signed under oath, these affidavits must be submitted before January 1, 2024.