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Illinois Bill Altered
By Bill Mills - Feb 2006

In October of 2005, Daniel J Burke (D), the 23rd district representative in the Illinois state House of Representatives filed House Bill 4132 with the state clerk.  In the following months, it moved through the legislative process, being read before the house, and gaining additional sponsors.  The bill as originally introduced would ban ownership or sale of replica rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and all replica weapons.  

In the last days of January 2006, concern started growing in the Illinois paintball community, that the broad term “replica weapon” would potentially include paintball guns.  As Illinois is home to numerous significant paintball companies and businesses including PMI, Shocktech, Centerflag Products, Airgun Designs, The Badlandz, Challenge Park Xtreme, Realms of Ruin, Country Club Paintball, and more, a shutdown of the sport in the state could have a significant impact throughout the US.

Fortunately this was not to be the case.  Gretchen Shay of Challenge Park Xtreme and Bob Lanstrum of EMR and Gunslingers Paintball quickly spread the word about the bill through the paintball industry and paintball media contacts, resulting in numerous faxes, phone calls and e-mails to Illinois legislators.  Within a matter of days, the bill was almost completely re-written by the house judiciary committee.  The new version was amended February 1st, 2006.  Instead of making replica weapon ownership a crime, the new bill would make it a misdemeanor “for any person to use any replica rocket  propelled grenade launcher, bazooka, artillery piece, grenade, mine, bomb, or items similar to weapons designed and manufactured for military purposes or replicas of those items in a threatening manner.”

Even if a court would decree that a paintball gun fell under the definition of a replica firearm, the new wording would not criminalize ownership, merely the misuse of threatening someone with it.

The status of the Illinois state replica weapons bill may be followed HERE. 


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