Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks during a press conference at Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago. | Photo: Illinois Information Service

(The Center Square) – A judge is expected to make a ruling on a temporary restraining order against Illinois’ “assault weapon” ban by the end of today.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the gun ban into law last week as House Bill 5471, also known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act.

The measure lawmakers approved bans sales of more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazine capacities.

Criminal penalties are in place for possession and for not registering grandfathered firearms by January 1, 2024.

Several lawsuits have been filed in both state and federal court challenging the ban on various grounds.

“If J.B. Pritzker thinks he’s going to make us register our legally obtained firearms, then we’re not going to comply with that because the constitution is on our side,” state Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, told WMAY.

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After a slew of COVID-19 mandate challenges over the past three years, Pritzker said his administration has experience litigating and defending actions he said a “small minority oppose.”

“We know that it will sometimes unfortunately take time in the courts to present all our arguments and to get the right results,” Pritzker said from Davos, Switzerland, during a conference call with media.

While the governor has said his administration succeeded in defending COVID-19 lawsuits, challenges against the governor’s mandates on mask and exclusion policies in schools fizzled out as the governor relaxed his executive orders.

Pritzker said he is confident the gun ban will stand legal scrutiny.

“I’m committed to protecting Illinoisans from the constant fear that they are under of being gunned down in a place of worship, or at a school, or in their neighborhood,” Pritzker said.

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Wilhour attended an emergency hearing Wednesday in Effingham County where a judge is expected to issue a ruling on a requested temporary restraining order against the law by the end of the day Friday.

“We’re confident in what’s going on there and I tell you what, the real fight for everybody is on the federal side,” Wilhour said.

The Illinois State Rifle Association’s federal lawsuit was filed this week in the Southern District of Illinois challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Another separate federal case from the Illinois Gun Rights Alliance is also expected.

Absent a court order, the law prohibits any sales of certain semi-automatic firearms and magazines of more than 10 for rifles and more than 15 for handguns.