The Illinois state Senate on Monday passed a measure that could become one of the toughest laws banning assault weapons in the country. Now it heads to the state House on Tuesday before it could potentially become a law.

Senate President Don Harmon issued a joint statement with Gov. JB Pritzker and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch supporting the ban.

“After continued negotiations between the leaders, stakeholders and advocates, we have reached a deal on one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the country,” the statement read. “Gun violence is an epidemic that is plaguing every corner of this state and the people of Illinois are demanding substantive action. With this legislation, we are delivering on the promises Democrats have made and, together, we are making Illinois’ gun laws a model for the nation.”

Firearms seized in federal law enforcement actions are displayed during a press conference to announce a crackdown on firearms and ammunition smuggling to Haiti and the Caribbean at the Homeland Security Investigations offices in Miami, Florida on August 17, 2022.
Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

This comes as Chicago remains a national focal point of gun violence and with the highly-publicized Highland Park shooting last July. There were seven people killed in that shooting, considered one of many mass shootings in 2022.

Dr. Sheena McKenzie, a pediatrician from Highland Park, said shootings from assault weapons differs from handguns, according to WGNTV.

“The damage from assault weapons is not like from other guns,” McKenzie said.

A new state bill would ban the sale of assault-style weapons and those guns with high-capacity magazines, as well as a new system that would require the registration of serial numbers for owned weapons that have been sold or transferred. The date of background checks for person-to-person sales also moves forward to July of 2023.

Dr. Omar Lateef, who’s with the Rush University Medical Center, has called gun violence a “public health crisis.”

“I think we can all see enough is enough and that should not be a controversial statement,” Lateef said.

The bill didn’t pass the Illinois senate easily, though, as many Republicans voiced their opinions against the bill.

“We’re going to create felons out of taxpayers. Why don’t we go after the bad guys, put them behind bars and keep them there?” Senator Chapin Rose said.

“Friends, you’ve got to know the actions you’re taking right now are tyrannis,” said State Senator Darren Bailey, a Republican from Louisville.

Republican senator Terri Bryant, who represents the Murphysboro area, said any vote for this gun measure violated “your oath” of serving their constituents

“Make no mistake, when you vote for this today, you’re violating your oath of office,” Bryant said.

Gun advocate Dan Eldridge with Maxon Shooter Supplies in Des Plaines, says his industry will be prepared for any new passage of gun restrictions.

“There’s no question that it’s going to court. That’s why we gave no testimony,” Eldridge said. “There’s no fixing this. We didn’t want to give them subject matter expertise on making a better bill. They can read our objections in the court filings.”

Newsweek reached out to the governor’s office.

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