Illinois state court allows limited break in state’s Pritzker-backed gun ban

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An Illinois judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of a new Illinois gun control law against about 800 plaintiffs.

The law, signed by Democratic Governor JB Pritzker last week at the start of his second term as governor, limits the sale of high-capacity ammunition cartridges, bans “switches” that allow semi-automatic firearms to fire automatically, and “extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearms restriction orders”.

So-called switches that effectively turn a semi-automatic firearm into an automatic firearm are already prohibited under most circumstances under federal firearms laws.

The ruling is limited to the plaintiffs — more than 800 Illinois residents — in a lawsuit filed by Thomas DeVore, a former Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general. The plaintiffs argued that the ban violates the Illinois Constitution.

Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison ruled that the bill likely violated the plaintiffs’ rights and disrupted the state’s ability to enforce the law against the specific group.

The judge said in his ruling that state officials failed to meet the procedural requirements necessary for the law to “stand up to the strict scrutiny that is necessary in restricting rights to avoid irreparable harm by definition.”

“This legislation used criteria to choose who can and cannot own guns without due consideration,” Morrison said. “Moreover, due to the speed with which this bill was passed, the effect to the protected classes could not have been considered, nor could the Legislature have studied whether this was the least restrictive way to achieve its objective.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office, a Democrat, has filed an appeal and will ask the appellate court to reverse and overturn the temporary restraining order, spokesman Jamey Dunn-Thomason said in a statement following the ruling. .

Pritzker said on Friday that he was confident the courts would finally uphold the law, despite the judge’s decision.

“This decision is not surprising. While disappointing, it is the initial outcome we have seen in many cases brought by plaintiffs whose aim is to promote ideology over public safety,” Pritzker said in a statement on Friday.

“We are well aware that this is just the first step in advocating for this important legislation,” he continued. “I remain confident that the courts will uphold the constitutionality of the Illinois law, which aligns with the other eight states with similar laws and was written in collaboration with legislators, attorneys and legal experts.”

The lawsuit is one of several that were quickly shelved following the enactment of the new gun law, which passed largely along party lines in the democratically controlled state legislature. One is filed in the Southern District of Illinois by various gun rights groups and another was filed in Crawford County. Both are currently awaiting trial dates.

On Wednesday, Pritzker pushed back against the lawsuits, telling CNN’s Kaitlan Collins he is confident the law will be upheld in court because Illinois is the ninth US state to enact a so-called assault weapons ban.

“The fact that there’s — there’s been challenges from assault weapon bans from other states. We are simply copying, frankly, what is done in other states. In fact, ours is one of the strictest, but it falls within the bounds of what is constitutional and acceptable. A lot of scholars have said that about our law,” Pritzker said on “CNN This Morning.”

In recent months, the Pritzker has passed additional legislation imposing gun restrictions in Illinois.

In May, Pritzker signed legislation prohibiting individuals from selling or possessing “ghost guns” or self-assembled weapons. It also ensures that all guns are serialized so authorities can better track them.

And in June, Pritzker signed another bill requiring the Department of Public Health to organize a two-year public awareness campaign on safe gun storage.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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