A lawsuit filed by the McHenry County state’s attorney challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines has been moved to federal court.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally last month filed a lawsuit in McHenry County Circuit Court against House Bill 5471.
House Bill 5471, also known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act, bans the sale and possession of what the Illinois General Assembly defined as “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.”
Kenneally said his office would also be seeking an emergency temporary restraining order to stay enforcement of the law in McHenry County.
The lawsuit alleges that HB 5471 violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Section 22 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution, which also protects a resident’s right to bear arms.
“The party of unchecked power in Illinois knew the law was constitutionally problematic when they, like the SAFE-T Act, passed it in an irregular legislative session, without any meaningful debate, and under cover of darkness,” Kenneally said.
The suit names Governor JB Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul as defendants.
“We at the State’s Attorney’s Office have well-founded concerns that the law is unconstitutional and will, again, head to court to ensure we uphold our sworn obligation to protect and defend the United States and Illinois Constitutions,” Kenneally said.
Court records show the attorney general’s office filed notice of removal on January 27 in McHenry County court.
The attorney general’s office said the lawsuit can be removed to federal court because the suit alleges U.S. Constitution violations.
A court date has not been set yet in the newly filed federal case.
Last month, Pritzker, surrounded by lawmakers and gun control activists, signed the gun ban bill into law in the Illinois Capitol rotunda.
“For the past four years, my administration and my colleagues in the State Capitol have been battling the powerful forces of the NRA to enshrine the strongest and most effective gun violence legislation that we possibly can,” Pritzker said at the bill signing.
“I couldn’t be prouder to say that we got it done. And we will keep fighting — bill by bill, vote by vote, and protest by protest — to ensure that future generations only hear about massacres like Highland Park, Sandy Hook, and Uvalde in their textbooks,” he said.
The day after Pritzker signed the bill, McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman issued a statement speaking out against the ban.
“The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people,” Tadelman said.
“I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution,” he said.
Tadelman said that the sheriff’s office would not be checking to ensure gun owners register their weapons are registered with the state.
He also said the sheriff’s office would not be arresting or holding individuals that have been charged with solely non-compliance of the new law.
Numerous lawsuits brought by thousands of residents throughout the state have been filed against the new law.