CHICAGO — A judge has temporarily suspended Illinois’ assault weapon ban for the more than 800 people who filed the lawsuit against the state.
Following the judge’s decision, Gov. JB Pritzker said the decision isn’t surprising.
“Although disappointing, it is the initial result we’ve seen in many cases brought by plaintiffs whose goal is to advance ideology over public safety,” Pritzker said. “We are well aware that this is only the first step in defending this important legislation. I remain confident that the courts will uphold the constitutionality of Illinois’ law, which aligns with the eight other states with similar laws and was written in collaboration with lawmakers, advocates, and legal experts.”
This stems from an emergency hearing Wednesday in Effingham County.
A lawsuit filed claimed the new Illinois assault weapon ban was unconstitutional, specifically in the way lawmakers passed the law.
After hearing nearly two hours of arguments, Judge Josh Morrison said he needed more time to review before he made a ruling.
“The judge sees what’s going on in Springfield, the same way that my clients and I see it, which is the complete deterioration of the procedural requirements under the constitution of how we pass legislation, that gamesmanship, the gun and replace especially, has gotten to the point that we don’t even have a meaningful opportunity for citizens that might want to voice themselves to the legislature even happened,” former Republican nominee for attorney general Tom Devore, who represents the plaintiffs, said. “I mean, it’s almost becoming a matter of course now of how they pass these laws. And the judge made it clear the time for this stuff to end is now and so he found likelihood of success on all four of the issues that we raised.”
The ban was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker on Jan. 10.
It was immediately met with pushback from gun rights groups who promised to fight the ban.
The ban prohibits the future sale of assault-style weapons and requires anyone who currently owns certain types of guns to register them with the state by January 2024.
It also puts caps on magazines and outlaws rapid-fire devices known as switches that can turn regular firearms into fully automatic weapons.
Over the past two weeks, several lawsuits have been filed fighting the new law: one in Crawford County, one in Effingham County and one at the federal level.
While two of the complaints argue the ban infringes on second amendment rights, as well as fourth and fifth amendment rights, the lawsuit filed it Effingham County took a different approach.
The lawsuit claims the law violates the equal protection clause because it exempts people in certain positions, that the law was not confined to a single subject and it violates due process because the bill did not go through the required three public readings.
However, the underlying bill was read three times prior to the language being changed.
Illinois sheriffs have caused a stir over the law. More than 90 out of 102 county sheriffs have publicly stated that they won’t aggressively enforce the law. Pritzker and Raoul responded fervently, suggesting that if sheriffs don’t take action against illegal weapons, other law enforcement agencies will.
The sheriffs ardently believe the law violates the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, but reaction to the pronouncements is overblown, according to the Illinois Sheriffs Association. The association explained that the statements mean that the sheriffs won’t search for the weapons or jail anyone charged only with non-registration until a judge orders it. With the registration deadline roughly a year away, it means little now.
Devore said he is also preparing a case against the ban related to second amendment issues, but he felt focusing on the manner in which the law was passed would lead to a quicker ruling. An injunction hearing is set for Feb. 1.
The state’s legal representatives have already filed a notice of appeal to the injunction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report