Illinois Supreme Court Finds Assault Weapons Ban Legal

(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The Illinois Supreme Court has found that a ban on assault weapons, passed after the hysteria generated by the July 4 mass killing in Highland Park, Ill., is legal.

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A lower court ruled that the law was “facially” unconstitutional because exemptions denied the “law-abiding public” equal protections. But the Supreme Court challenged the standing of the plaintiffs — not the unconstitutionality of the law. They allowed the ban to take effect.

Justice Elizabeth Rochford wrote, “First, we hold that the exemptions neither deny equal protection nor constitute special legislation because plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged that they are similarly situated to and treated differently from the exempt classes. Second, plaintiffs expressly waived in the circuit court any independent claim that the restrictions impermissibly infringe the Second Amendment. Third, plaintiffs’ failure to cross-appeal is a jurisdictional bar to renewing their three-readings claim.”

The plaintiffs waived any claim to challenging the law based on Second Amendment considerations and instead, challenged the law based on 14th Amendment equal protection considerations. The suit was brought by state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) on behalf of gun owners in Illinois.

Related: U.S. Supreme Court Sides With Biden, Keeps Regulations on ‘Ghost Guns’

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ABCNews:

The law at the center of the suit prohibits assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, .50-caliber rifles or .50-caliber cartridges — the type of semi-automatic weapons used in many mass shootings around the country. It prohibits the purchase, sale, manufacture, delivery and import of these firearms. It gives exemptions to law enforcement, military, corrections and trained private security.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act was signed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker last year, hours after it was passed in a legislative session held months after a gunman opened fire at a July 4 parade in a Chicago suburb that left seven people dead and more than 30 others wounded.

People who already own these weapons must register them with police by 2024 and will have limited ways to sell the weapons. One Republican candidate for the House, Darren Bailey, who was steamrolled by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the 2022 election, did a full-blown “Patrick Henry” from the front porch of his house.

“I’m standing here on my front porch. This porch kind of became famous through the governor’s run and became famous when I was speaking on nonsense. And I made a statement. And sometimes when we make these statements, we don’t know where this is going to go. But if need be, this front porch will be my final stand. I will not allow anyone to infringe, on my property, on my Second Amendment rights. I will not allow anyone to come and take anything from me. And if need be, as I quoted before, I will die on this front porch before I give up any of my Second Amendment freedoms.”

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There’s nothing in the law about the police seizing any weapons. It’s extremely doubtful that any seizures will come to pass. Pritzker isn’t stupid enough to start a civil war in Illinois by attempting to confiscate weapons — even if they’re technically illegal.

Besides, the current Supreme Court will have a lot to say about the constitutionality of this law as it relates to the Second Amendment. I doubt they will view the restrictions kindly.

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