Contact: Bob Matthews, Senior Coordinator, Upper Midwestern States
- Following a dead-of-night House vote and a Sunday evening Senate session, the lame-duck Illinois legislature passed a bill banning Modern Sporting Rifles and imposed restrictions on Standard Capacity Magazines.
- Illinois becomes the ninth state to restrict the sale and manufacture of modern sporting rifles in some capacity (the others being CA, CT, DE, HI, MA, MD, NJ, NY).
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) directly contacted each member of the Illinois State Senate individually to inform Senators of the significant negative impacts that this legislation is likely to have on the many sportsmen and women of Illinois, as well as conservation funding in the state.
- Litigation is expected to be swiftly filed, challenging the legality of this detrimental legislation.
Why It Matters: Following the Governor’s signature of Illinois House Bill 5471, sportsmen and women in the Prairie State will see significant changes to how semi-automatic firearms and magazines are treated in Illinois. This legislation will not only harm sportsmen and women of the state by barring future purchases of modern sporting rifles, thereby limiting opportunities for recreational shooting, but it will also hurt conservation funding.
On its final day in session, the lame-duck Illinois General Assembly passed a bill, ultimately becoming HB 5471, which prohibits the sale, manufacture, possession, and purchase of modern sporting rifles, attachments, and .50 BMG cartridges in Illinois. Additionally, the bill limits magazine capacities to 10 rounds per magazine for long guns and 15 rounds per magazine for handguns. The bill requires existing owners to register the firearms covered by this legislation with the Illinois State Police by January 1, 2024, and expands the state court’s ability to impose firearm restraining orders. The full text of the legislation as enrolled can be found here.
This legislation will have negative impacts on Illinois’ strong community of sportsmen and women, which in turn is likely to harm the state’s fish and wildlife conservation funding. In 2021, through the American System of Conservation Funding, Illinois sportsmen and women generated $60 million in conservation revenue for the state through license sales and excise taxes on outdoor goods, including firearms and ammunition. By banning the sale of modern sporting rifles, among the most popular and commonly used styles of firearms by recreational shooting sports participants, this bill not only bars sportsmen and women from being able to participate in our time-honored traditions, but it may also jeopardize the ability of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to conserve the state’s resources.
Additionally, the magazine caps that this legislation imposes place an undue financial burden on sportsmen and women, who are now forced to purchase additional equipment to use their firearms to conform with the new law’s requirements. The magazines that the legislation deems to be “high-capacity” are in fact industry standard, and the modern sporting rifles that this bill targets, like the AR-15, are some of the most common firearms presently in circulation and are widely used in competitive and recreational shooting.
Litigation challenging the constitutionality of the law is certain. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to work to educate lawmakers across the country on why legislation like this is detrimental to the interests of sportsmen and women, as well as conservation in the event similar legislation is proposed elsewhere.
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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (6.04%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.74%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (3.95%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (12.95%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (43.09%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.23%)