Mon. Feb 12th, 2024
Guns with a red prohibition symbol overlap

In the wake of increasing concerns over public safety, Illinois has taken a decisive step by enacting legislation that bans certain types of firearms, commonly referred to as “assault weapons”. This article will explore the intricacies of the new Illinois law, dissect the Supreme Court’s stance on not blocking this legislation, and provide essential insights into the implications for residents and gun enthusiasts alike. Here’s everything you need to know about the Illinois assault weapons ban.

What Guns Did Illinois Ban?

Illinois has specifically targeted high-power semiautomatic firearms in its recent legislative action. The ban includes a wide array of weapons, particularly those that have been frequently used in mass shootings across the United States. Below is a non-exhaustive list of firearms now prohibited in the state:

Semiautomatic Rifles

Illinois law has specifically targeted semiautomatic rifles with specific features that are deemed to enhance their lethality and potential for misuse. These rifles are banned if they meet the following criteria:

  • They must have the capability to accept a detachable magazine;
  • They must possess certain military features that increase their potential for harm.

The ban on semiautomatic rifles is intended to restrict access to firearms that have been frequently associated with mass shootings in the United States. While the law does not provide an exhaustive list of banned models, it includes rifles that meet the criteria mentioned above.

Semiautomatic Pistols

Similar to semiautomatic rifles, Illinois law restricts the possession and use of semiautomatic pistols with specific characteristics. These pistols are prohibited if they meet the following criteria:

  • They must have the capability to accept a detachable magazine;
  • They must possess certain features that are considered to increase their lethality.

The ban on semiautomatic pistols aims to prevent the misuse of firearms that have been associated with violent crimes. Again, the law does not provide an exhaustive list of banned models but focuses on specific features that enhance a pistol’s potential for harm.

Semiautomatic Shotguns

Illinois legislation also covers semiautomatic shotguns with features that enhance their firing capacity and speed. These shotguns are banned if they possess certain characteristics:

  • They must be capable of accepting a detachable magazine;
  • They must have features that increase their capacity for rapid fire.

The prohibition on semiautomatic shotguns aims to reduce the risk associated with firearms that have been used in criminal activities and mass shootings.

Attachments and Modifications

In addition to the ban on specific firearms, Illinois law also addresses attachments and modifications that can enhance a firearm’s capacity for ammunition or its rate of fire. The following items fall under this category of banned items:

  • Bump Stocks: Bump stocks are devices that increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms. They allow the shooter to simulate automatic fire by harnessing the recoil of the firearm. The ban on bump stocks is intended to prevent the conversion of semiautomatic firearms into automatic-like weapons;
  • High-Capacity Magazines: Certain high-capacity magazines that can hold a large number of rounds are also prohibited. These magazines can significantly increase the firepower of a firearm, making them more dangerous in the wrong hands.

The law also covers attachments and modifications that increase a firearm’s capacity for ammunition or its rate of fire. Bump stocks and certain high-capacity magazines fall under this category of banned items.

Legal Definitions and Technicalities

Hand holding a pistol

Understanding the legal definitions and technicalities surrounding the ban on certain firearms in Illinois is crucial for residents to ensure compliance with the law. The legislation is specific about the features that classify a firearm as an “assault weapon.” Here are some key points to consider:

Features That Define an “Assault Weapon”

The law outlines specific features that can classify a firearm as an “assault weapon.” These features include, but are not limited to:

  • Telescoping Stocks: Stocks that can be adjusted to different lengths, often found on rifles;
  • Pistol Grips: Grips that allow for a more ergonomic and comfortable handhold, often associated with semiautomatic firearms;
  • Barrel Shrouds: Protective coverings around the barrel of a firearm that can enhance safety but may be regulated under certain circumstances.

It is essential for firearm owners to carefully examine their weapons and understand whether any of these features are present, as the presence of one or more of these features could subject the firearm to the ban.

Consult the Official Text or Seek Legal Advice

Given the complexity of the law and the potential consequences for non-compliance, residents are strongly encouraged to take the following steps:

  • Consult the Official Text: Review the official text of the Illinois law to get a comprehensive understanding of its provisions. This is especially important as the ban may encompass a broader range of firearms than can be listed exhaustively;
  • Seek Legal Advice: If there is uncertainty regarding the classification of a firearm or compliance with the law, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in firearm regulations. Legal professionals can provide guidance specific to individual cases and help firearm owners make informed decisions.

Supreme Court’s Stance on Illinois Firearms Ban


In a recent development, the United States Supreme Court has taken a significant stance on the new Illinois law that seeks to ban specific high-power semiautomatic firearms. This decision by the Supreme Court has far-reaching implications for the implementation of the law, the interpretation of the Second Amendment, and the ongoing legal challenges surrounding it.

The Supreme Court’s decision carries several immediate and long-term implications:

Immediate Law Implementation

The foremost consequence of the Supreme Court’s stance is that the new Illinois law can be implemented without any immediate legal obstructions. This means that law enforcement agencies in Illinois can proceed with the enforcement of the ban on certain high-power semiautomatic firearms.

Immediate Law ImplementationThe new Illinois law can be enforced without obstruction.
Law Enforcement ActionLocal authorities can take measures to enforce the law.

Possible Shift in Interpretation

The Supreme Court’s decision, by not blocking the law, suggests a potential shift in the interpretation of the Second Amendment. Historically, cases related to the Second Amendment have been contentious, and the Court’s decision to not intervene is noteworthy.

Shift in Second Amendment InterpretationThe Court’s decision hints at a potential shift in interpretation.
Greater State LatitudeStates might have more freedom to enact gun control measures.

Ongoing Legal Challenges

While the Supreme Court’s decision allows the law to be enforced, it does not provide a final judgment on its constitutionality. Legal challenges against the ban are still ongoing in lower courts, leaving the law’s ultimate fate uncertain.

Uncertain Law’s FateThe final verdict on the law’s constitutionality is pending.
Potential Nationwide ImpactOutcomes of lower court cases can affect regulations nationally.


The Illinois assault weapons ban marks a critical moment in the ongoing national discourse on gun control and public safety. “What guns did Illinois ban?” is more than just a question; it’s a reflection of a broader attempt to address the complex issue of firearm regulation in the United States. As legal battles unfold and the societal impacts of the ban are observed, it will be important for residents, lawmakers, and advocates to stay informed and engaged with the developments of this pivotal legislation.

By understanding the specifics of what guns Illinois banned, the reasons behind the ban, and the judicial responses to it, citizens and stakeholders can better navigate the changing landscape of gun laws in Illinois and the broader United States. As with any significant legal change, staying informed, seeking legal advice when necessary, and participating in ongoing conversations are key to understanding and adapting to new norms.


What guns did Illinois ban under the new law?

Illinois banned certain high-power semiautomatic firearms, including rifles, pistols, and shotguns, with specific military features and attachments that increase lethality.

Can I keep firearms I owned before the ban?

The law includes provisions for grandfathering certain firearms owned before the ban, but owners must register these weapons with the state. Specific details and deadlines are outlined in the law.

What are the penalties for violating the ban?

Penalties range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. It’s crucial to understand and comply with the law to avoid legal consequences.

Will the ban be challenged in court?

The ban is currently facing legal challenges, and as these proceed, there may be further developments or changes to the law’s enforcement.

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