Illinois Faces Backlash After Banning Assault Weapons


By Armita Rohani

Gun violence has been a prevalent problem throughout the U.S, being one of the most stereotypical ideals over Americans. It has proven to be a divisive force, as some states are choosing to outlaw its possession while others view guns as a right that all Americans have. Illinois has become the 9th state to prohibit the sale or possession of military-style weapons, and public outcry is rebuking it. The governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, signed the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” into law, which prevents the sale or possession of any kind of assault weapon, including semiautomatic firearms and rapid-firing devices. Gun violence survivors applauded and cheered the decision, as Pritzker was signing a monumental document into law. “No Illinoisan, no matter their zip code, should have to go through life fearing their loved one could be next in an ever-growing list of victims of mass shootings… For too long people have lived in fear of being gunned down in schools,” says the governor, “We are seeing these unserialized guns being built in basements by those who should never have had access to such dangerous weapons and then used to commit heinous crimes, and it must be stopped to keep Illinoisans safe.”

However, gun rights groups and several counties oppose the Act, and they are not taking the decision lightly. People have protested and completely ignored or refused to cooperate with the Act. People have been trying to halt the enforcement of this law, and several county sherrifs said that they won’t be reinforcing or implementing it. Three lawsuits have been filed by gun rights groups and members from over 87 counties, claiming that the ban infringes on the constitutional rights of Americans. Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, spoke against the Act, saying that “[t]he 2nd Amendment is fundamentally about self-defense, and the 14th Amendment is about not having our rights infringed. This new law makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens.” While the only way to prevent gun violence is to prevent society from access to such weapons, it does not mean it will be fair for everyone. Innocent people who own guns responsibly will have it taken away from them, regardless of their previous history or usage.

The people in Illinois are split, and their opinions on gun rights are dividing them.