A judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of Illinois’ “assault weapons” ban for over 850 plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit against the governor and attorney general.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the gun ban into law last week as House Bill 5471, also known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act.
Attorney Thomas DeVore on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Effingham County Circuit Court. He argued the ban is unconstitutional.
During an emergency hearing Wednesday, DeVore argued, among other things, that the law violates equal protections by exempting law enforcement officers from the new ban.
Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison issued a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon.
The restraining order blocks enforcement of the new law for the 866 plaintiffs in the suit.
The restraining order only applies to the plaintiffs in the specific lawsuit and does not apply to all Illinois residents.
“This Court finds the Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success in proving the failure of the General Assembly to abide by the due process clause of the Illinois Constitution,” Morrison said in the order.
The case advances pending an expected appeal by the governor and legislative leaders.
A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for the morning of February 1.
“This decision is not surprising. 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,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement.
“I remain confident that the courts will uphold the constitutionality of Illinois’ law, which aligns with the eight other states with similar laws and was written in collaboration with lawmakers, advocates, and legal experts,” Pritzker said.
There are also other pending lawsuits filed against the state’s gun ban.
A separate case is in Crawford County. That awaits a judge to be assigned.
A federal case in the Southern District of Illinois filed by the Illinois State Rifle Association has yet to have a hearing scheduled.
The new law bans more than 170 semi-automatic handguns and rifles.
It also bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds in rifles and more than 15 rounds in handguns.
Other challenges contend the law also violates citizens’ right to own and carry firearms under the Second Amendment and their rights against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.
The law requires people who already owned any of the banned guns or magazines to register them with the state or face charges.
“Illinoisans have a right to feel safe in their front yards, at school, while eating at bars and restaurants or celebrating with their family and friends. The Protect Illinois Communities Act takes weapons of war and mass destruction off the street while allowing law-abiding gun owners to retain their collections. I look forward to the next steps in this case and receiving the decision this case merits,” Pritzker said in his statement following Friday’s ruling.
Lake and McHenry County Scanner and The Center Square both contributed to this report.