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Illinois Supreme Court Upholds ‘Assault-Style’ Weapons Ban

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on “assault-style” weapons in a 4-3 ruling Friday.
by Katelynn Richardson, DCNF, TFP File Photo

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on “assault-style” weapons in a 4-3 ruling Friday.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled against Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins and other gun owners Friday, who argued in their lawsuit that the ban violates the equal protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.

Days after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Protect Illinois Communities Act on Jan. 10 — which placed a statewide ban on the sale, manufacture, possession, and purchase of “assault-style” weapons, assault weapon attachments, and .50 caliber cartridges, along with limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns — gun groups, firearms retailers and residents began filing lawsuits challenging it constitutionality.

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“[W]e 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,” Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Katherine Rochford wrote in the majority opinion.

The ban allowed law enforcement officers and individuals who had “assault” style weapons on the day the law was enacted to keep them, which the plaintiffs allege violates the requirement for the law to be applied equally, according to the Associated Press.

Macon County Judge Rodney Forbes ruled in Caulkins’ favor in April, finding the law caused “irreparable harm” and denied plaintiffs’ the ability to “exercise their right to self-defense in the manner they choose,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois is facing federal lawsuits over the ban. An East St. Louis district court judge issued an injunction against the law in April, which the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals placed a hold on in May, according to CBS News.

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The Supreme Court declined the National Association for Gun Rights’ request for an emergency injunction against the ban in May.

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