The state of Illinois is fighting back after a judge blocked Democratic Governor JB Pritzker to enforce a recently enacted ban on certain semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed Monday to the 5th District Court of Appeals in Mount Vernon to strike down a temporary restraining order against the Illinois Protecting Communities Act, which bans dozens of handguns and rifles, handguns .50 caliber, certain accessories and accessories, and cartridge limits to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for pistols.
Pritzker signed the gun control law on January 10 in response to the mass shooting that killed seven and injured 30 at the Highland Park 4th of July Parade. Those who currently own the restricted weapons would not be required to turn them in, but would have to register them with the Illinois State Police, including serial numbers.
Four arms dealers and 850 people have challenged the law, arguing that it was incorrectly enacted and lacked adequate public opinion. They claimed in a lawsuit that Illinois violated the law’s national guarantee of equal protection by exempting categories of people based on their occupation or training, such as retired police officers, from the law’s application.
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In a ruling on Friday, Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison sided with the plaintiffs, concluding that they “are being immediately and irreparably harmed every day their fundamental right to bear arms is denied.” Morrison also cited a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court of last year that struck down New York State’s concealed carry law. That 6-3 ruling in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen found that the “plain text” of the Second Amendment protected the right of the plaintiffs in that case to carry firearms for self-defense.
Raoul argues that Morrison’s order was inappropriate due to contrary rulings by the state Supreme Court and the suit’s inability to prove that passing the gun ban violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
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The attorney general disputes the plaintiff’s claims, saying there is no evidence that exemptions to the gun ban are granted unfairly.
Gun rights groups have criticized the law as “tyrannical”, claiming it violates the Second Amendment rights of legal gun owners.
The Illinois State Rifle Association, which filed a separate federal lawsuit challenging the law, accused lawmakers of “bending and ignoring the constitution in an effort to take away Second Amendment rights to bear arms in Illinois.”
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More than 70 bailiffs they have publicly vowed to challenge the law, calling it unconstitutional.
Bailee Hill of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.