Judge Halts Illinois’ Unconstitutional Assault Weapons Ban

An Effingham County judge granted a temporary restraining order against Democrat Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recently-signed assault weapons ban after former Republican candidate for attorney general Tom DeVore sued to block the law.

Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act on Jan. 10 in a bid to end “mass shootings.” The law, which was a response to the shooting at the Highland Park July Fourth parade, immediately prohibits the sale and distribution of certain firearms and large-capacity magazines in Illinois.

DeVore, among many other critics, said that the law was unconstitutional. He filed a lawsuit against the law, listing 862 gun owners and four gun shop owners in the state as plaintiffs. The lawsuit argues that the act is a violation of the Illinois State Constitution.

DeVore also pointed out that the law violates the constitution’s Equal Protection clause as it excuses certain groups of people from the ban. People like correctional officers, police officers and others in law enforcement and active duty military are allowed to purchase items banned from the rest of the citizens.

Judge Joshua Morrison agreed with the suit, stating in the restraining order that the ban’s exceptions for law enforcement and active duty military violates Illinois citizens’ Equal Protection rights under the state’s constitution.

The restraining order stops Pritzker’s administration from enforcing the law against any of the plaintiffs in the suit until the court makes a final verdict. This could take up to three months.

DeVore and the 866 plaintiffs in this lawsuit are not alone in their opposition to the Protect Illinois Communities Act. After it was signed into law, many spoke against it, including sheriffs who have refused to enforce the unconstitutional ban.

There are also at least two more lawsuits filed with a state court and federal court that argue that the law violates citizens’ Second Amendment Right that preserves an individual’s right to bear and keep arms.

After the ruling, DeVore, who was pleased with the verdict, suggested in a conversation with the Chicago Tribune that the judge wants the administration to pass a law that is open and fair for all.

“If the General Assembly wants to pass a law, then do it in the wide open, don’t do it like thieves in the night and let everybody know what they’re doing and see what they’re doing and give them a chance to participate,” he said.