Governor Compares AR-15s To Missile Launchers While Pushing National Gun Ban

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker compared AR-15s to missile launchers in a statement pushing for a national ban on so-called “assault rifles.”

Pritzker advocated for increased gun control measures and touted his state’s ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines in a July 4 tweet commemorating the Highland Park shooting at a Fourth of July parade in 2022. The law, which passed in January, outlaws the sale, manufacture, possession or purchase of so-called “assault-style weapons” and .50 caliber cartridges, and limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns.

Todd Vandermyde, a plaintiff challenging the ban, said the policy is an “abject failure” and will not make communities safer, according to The Center Square. Pritzker celebrated the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ late June decision to uphold the law and made the comparison between AR-15s and missile launchers.

“Because the people who were advocating for semi-automatic weapons were saying ‘Well gee, everybody’s got one now, so you can’t ban them.’ Well that’s ridiculous,” Pritzker said. “If everyone had a missile launcher, we shouldn’t ban missile launchers?”

Missile launchers are mobile automatic systems that fire surface-to-surface rockets. AR-15s are semiautomatic firearms, meaning the trigger has to be pulled to fire each cartridge, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Many supporters of the AR-15 argue the firearm is designed for the shooting range and home defense, while soldiers at war prefer to use the M4 Carbine or M249 machine gun, according to National Interest. (RELATED: A Second Judge Blocks Illinois From Enforcing ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban)

Vandermyde criticized the governor’s missile launcher comparison, according to The Center Square.

“They just keep jumping to the absurd that if you allow rifles, shotguns and pistols then you have to allow all this other stuff. And nobody is arguing [that], that’s not even before the court in any way,” he said.

The law in question requires citizens in Illinois who own certain types of firearms to register them with the state police by Jan. 1 or face criminal penalties, the outlet reported.

When the bill was signed into law, Republican Illinois Sen. Neil Anderson called the bill “hypocritical” for failing to mention a ban on weapons used in war such as the M1 Garand and 1911 handgun, according to The State-Journal Register.