Sen. Omar Aquino

CHICAGO – Alongside Uvalde, Buffalo, and a sadly increasing number of cities across the nation, Highland Park joined the map of yet another town that was stricken by heinous gun violence at the hands of a person firing an assault weapon. Before more lives are tragically lost by the unnecessary ownership and usage of such weapons, State Senator Omar Aquino is pushing a measure to ban the sale and purchase of assault weapons.

“We cannot continue to sit silently while people’s parents, children, and friends get shot to death in masses at parades, grocery stores, and schools,” said Aquino (D-Chicago). “I can’t fathom living in a state where my children have to constantly fear for their lives on a daily basis.”

First filed by Aquino in February 2021, Senate Bill 2510 would ban the sale and purchase of assault weapons and assault weapon attachments in Illinois. Assault weapons include semi-automatic firearms and rifles with belt feeds or detachable magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.

A need to ban assault weapons became increasingly vital following three mass shootings in less than two months – including one here in Illinois. Within the past week, several Aquino’s colleagues have signed on to co-sponsor the measure, signaling significant support for a statewide assault weapons ban.

 In 1994, Congress passed a federal assault-weapons ban, which banned AR-15s and other similar semi-automatic rifles. Under the ban, mass shootings decreased compared to the previous decade – 1984-1994 – and the decade after its sunset – 2004-2014. Yet despite the ban’s success, Congress did not extend the measure, putting assault weapons back on the streets at higher levels.

“It’s simple: Banning assault weapons will prevent death,” Aquino said. “There’s no reason a person in Illinois needs an assault weapon. Gone are the times of thoughts and prayers – we need real, tangible solutions, and that starts with this legislation.”