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Monday was deadline for Illinois owners of assault weapons prior to ban to register their guns

Monday was key deadline for owners of assault weapons in Illinois
Monday was key deadline for owners of assault weapons in Illinois 02:50

CHICAGO (CBS) – Even though Illinois lawmakers passed a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, Monday was the deadline for those who already owned assault weapons before the ban to register them.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the statewide ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines on Jan. 10, 2023. The measure gave those who owned and purchased weapons before the law was enacted time to register.

CBS 2's Darius Johnson had the latest on where the controversial measure stood with the new year.

As of last week, only 15,000 people completed the disclosures, according to Illinois State Police. There are nearly 2.5 million firearm owner's IDs in the state.

However, it's unclear how many of those FOID holders own assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, or rapid-firing triggers.

CBS 2 spoke to a gun control activist from Highland Park, the site of a July 4th parade mass shooting in 2022, which left seven people dead and 36 injured. The shooter used a legally purchased semiautomatic weapon.

"I'm really thinking about the people who've been directly impacted by gun violence," said Rachel Jacoby. "Whether it be survivors, people who've lost family, or anyone who has been directly or indirectly affected, because some of the trauma that we carry from gun violence is visible in the form of injuries or PTSD and things like that. But so much of it is invisible and hard to see, but that trauma stays with you."

Monday was deadline for Illinois owners of assault weapons prior to ban to register their guns 02:08

Jacoby organized a rally to end gun violence in June of 2022, before the July 4th shooting.

She was one of many who went to Springfield to urge lawmakers to pass the Protect Illinois Communities Act, the law that bans assault weapons in the state.

In November, state police said it is up to prosecutors in the state's 102 counties to enforce the law, but it's unclear what penalties would be in store for those who fail to register their weapons. 

Penalties can vary for illegal weapons. Carrying or possessing unauthorized assault weapons could result in a misdemeanor, with one year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500. Manufacturing, selling, or purchasing an unauthorized weapon could constitute a felony and result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain explained that his deputies won't be going door to door to find residents who may have a FOID card and "asking to see all of their weapons." He said the law works more during high-profile investigations.

"However, if we are investigating a criminal organization and we do come across firearms that are in violation of the assault weapons ban, we will certainly use this new law to enhance criminal charges against them," Hain said.

Hain believes the overall issue with guns surrounds mental health, and that's where more support is needed. Ultimately, he said he worries the law could benefit the black market.

Jacoby hopes that future generations don't go through the same battle.

"This next generation will hopefully be a little bit safer and won't have to worry about someone coming into their school with an assault weapon in the way that I had to worry about that growing up," she said.

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