Illinois' restrictive new gun laws struck down by court

The plaintiffs are "being immediately and irreparably harmed each day in which their fundamental right to bear arms is being denied."

Joshua Young North Carolina

On Tuesday, the Fifth District appellate court of Illinois upheld and extended the scope of a restraining order placed on the state's restrictive new Protect Illinois Communities Act, a bill passed into law on January 10 that banned the sale and possession of "assault weapons," rapid fire enhancements known as switches, and high capacity magazines.

Fox News reports that after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the law and it went into effect, 850 Illinois citizens and several gun merchants brought a lawsuit against the state over the law, saying it was "enacted improperly" and "violated the state and US Constitutions equal protection clause in providing exemptions for some groups of people based on their occupation or training" such as former law enforcement.

On January 24, Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison ordered a temporary restraining order in response to the lawsuit which prevented its enforcement, and said in his ruling that the plaintiffs are "being immediately and irreparably harmed each day in which their fundamental right to bear arms is being denied."

The law banned the sale and manufacture of AR-15s and AK-47s, long gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition, and handgun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. The law also extended the state's "red flag" law scope, and enabled a person to be prohibited from purchasing a firearm if they were on the list for a longer period of time.

The Associated Press reports, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, a Democrat, appealed Morrison's ruling but the three-judge appellate court upheld the restraining order in a 2-to-1 decision. 

The appellate court said the restraining order can stay in place and extended its scope beyond the plaintiffs to apply to all of Illinois, reports Fox News.

The court said the plaintiffs' suit had "a likelihood of success on the merits" in that the gun law likely violated their equal protection as granted under the US Constitution.

The executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Jason Ouimet, told Fox, "The NRA will not stand by while activist politicians pass unconstitutional laws that do nothing to promote public safety. We sued the state of Illinois because this new law is a blatant violation of Americans’ Second Amendment rights."


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