State Watch

Judge temporarily blocks Illinois assault weapons ban

An Illinois state judge temporarily blocked the state’s assault weapons ban Friday, finding that the Illinois government likely violated procedural regulations for passing legislation.

A lawsuit against the measure was filed days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed it into law, banning the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and parts that convert handguns into assault weapons. 

Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison ruled that the plaintiffs are substantially likely to succeed on the merits of their argument that the Illinois government did not comply with state regulations requiring legislation to have one subject or to be read three times in each house of the legislature and violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the state constitution. 

The lawsuit was filed by Accuracy Firearms LLC and more than 800 individuals arguing that the law and the way it was passed violated their rights. 

Morrison ruled that the plaintiffs in the case have a clear right in need of protection given that the legislation impacts rights protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that they will suffer irreparable harm without the pause on the law, according to a copy of the ruling obtained by Champaign, Ill., CBS affiliate WCIA. 

Part of the Illinois Constitution requires legislation to center around a single subject, but Morrison said the law, the Protect Illinois Communities Act, has an overbroad title and a provision about human and dog trafficking. 

Morrison also found that the state government “unequivocally and egregiously” violated the Illinois Constitution’s Three Readings Rule to avoid constitutional requirements and public disclosure. 

He additionally took issue with which individuals were exempted by the legislation, finding that he cannot see a difference in people such as wardens, who are not affected by the legislation, being necessarily better trained in handling weapons than retired military personnel, who are not exempt. 

Pritzker said in a statement after the ruling that he is not surprised but that this is only the first step in defending the legislation. He said he is confident that the Illinois courts will uphold the law, which he said aligns with eight other states’ laws and was written following collaboration from lawmakers, advocates and legal experts. 

“Illinoisans have a right to feel safe in their front yards, at school, while eating at bars and restaurants or celebrating with their family and friends,” he said. “The Protect Illinois Communities Act takes weapons of war and mass destruction off the street while allowing law-abiding gun owners to retain their collections.” 

Pritzker signed the law following a shooting in Highland Park, Ill., over the summer in which a shooter killed seven and injured dozens at a Fourth of July parade.

Tags assault weapons ban Illinois J.B. Pritzker

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