(Greg Bishop, The Center Square) Illinois’ new gun ban can’t be enforced for the more than 860 individuals who sued in state court in Effingham County after a judge issued a temporary restraining order late Friday.
Attorney Thomas DeVore filed the lawsuit seeking to block the gun ban Tuesday, a week after Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted the law. The law prohibits the sale of more than 170 semi-automatic guns and magazines and requires a gun registry.
Exempted from the law were active and retired police officers and others in the security and law enforcement industry. DeVore argued during an emergency hearing Wednesday that the law violates equal protections of rights. Judge Joshua Morrison agreed Friday.
“[T]his court cannot find it logical that a warden or a person (included in the exempted persons category) is necessarily better trained or more experienced in the handling of weapons than a retired military personnel (not included in the exempted person category),” Morrison wrote in a ruling Friday.
Another argument was that the law wasn’t approved properly.
“This Court finds that the Defendants unequivocally and egregiously violated the Three Readings Rule of the Illinois Constitution in order to circumvent the Constitutional requirements and avoid public discourse,” Morrison wrote.
The judge said the 866 plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of the case.
“We will see if the state wants to appeal. If not, we’ll work on getting this pursued to a final ruling so we can get to the merits of these issues, sooner rather than later,” DeVore told The Center Square.
The governor and legislative leaders who supported the measure said they will appeal.
“This decision is not surprising,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Although disappointing, it is the initial result we’ve seen in many cases brought by plaintiffs whose goal is to advance ideology over public safety. We are well aware that this is only the first step in defending this important legislation.”
Friday’s temporary restraining order only impacts DeVore’s clients, but he said the case continues.
“It would be expanded across the entire state once we get to the finality of it, once there’s a final ruling issued and the judge declares there’s unconstitutionality here,” DeVore said.
A preliminary injunction hearing is set for Feb. 1. Pritzker and legislative leaders said they’re disappointed in the ruling, and to expect an appeal.