Suburban leaders react for and against Illinois' new ban on high-powered weapons

Lawmakers on Tuesday finished off legislation that bans the purchase, sale and manufacture of some semi-automatic weapons, .50 caliber rifles and ammunition, and large-capacity magazines in Illinois.

It allows people who already own such weapons to keep them. Senate Democrats earlier pushed the measure through that chamber 34-20, sending it to the House, where it passed 68-41 Tuesday afternoon.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure Tuesday night. The law goes into effect immediately.

Here is what state and suburban leaders had to say about passage of the Protect Illinois Communities Act:

"For a long time now, I and many other leaders in the Illinois General Assembly have prioritized getting the most dangerous weapons off our state's streets. Today, honoring the commitment we made, we passed one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the nation, one I will be proud to sign. No Illinoisan, no matter their ZIP code, should have to go through life fearing their loved one could be the next in an ever-growing list of victims of mass shootings. However, for too long people have lived in fear of being gunned down in schools, while worshipping, at celebrations or in their own front yards."

- Gov. J.B. Pritzker

"I believe violent crime prevention must be addressed at every angle, not the least of these is putting stronger penalties in place for those who would break the law by continually and without concern of consequences, continue to commit violent crimes with guns. Democrats have shown time and time again that they are unwilling to consider any kind of penalty enhancement for these kinds of gun violence criminals. ... I am a member of the legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). Late last year, after the Highland Park shooting, I worked collaboratively with the Illinois State Police to strengthen our state's red flag statute rules, so a loophole that allowed the Highland Park shooter to legally purchase a gun was closed. This change will do more to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands, than ANY aspect of the new assault weapons legislation."

­- State Sen. Don DeWitte, a St. Charles Republican

"This is a huge step forward - Illinois residents have demanded common sense gun reforms for decades to reduce the ripple of firearm deaths, and this week the legislature met the urgency of the moment. ... Above all, I am in awe of the countless victims, survivors, and family members who sat with us, told us their stories, and refused to give up until they got the change we all needed. This victory is a testament to their strength and resilience in the face of unimaginable pain, and I am forever grateful to them."

- state Rep. Bob Morgan, a Deerfield Democrat

"Banning assault weapons has proven to be effective at curbing gun violence, as shown by the 10-year Federal Assault Weapons ban that expired in 2004. While we know that no town or county is an island and appreciate that this statewide ban will make it that much harder for someone with horrible intentions to obtain a combat weapon, neither is a state. This important step taken by our Illinois legislators sends a clear message to other states and the federal government that we need continued bold action to address mass shootings across our nation. We urge them to continue their work towards protecting all Americans' rights to live free from fear of gun violence."

­- Nancy R. Rotering, Highland Park mayor

"I am beyond thrilled that finally after all these years and lives lost, we have made progress by banning these weapons that were designed to do one thing, and that is to kill."

- Sandy Hart, Lake County Board chairwoman

"I commend our legislators and thank them for their hard work, restricting access to these weapons of war will make our communities safer."

- Paul Frank, Lake County Board member representing Highland Park

Ban on high-powered guns signed: Law's final details

State Sen. Don DeWitte
State Rep. Bob Morgan
Highland Park Mayor Nancy R. Rotering
Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart
Lake County Board member Paul Frank
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