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

(The Center Square) – The ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines in Illinois was blocked Friday by a federal judge who issued an injunction in a pending lawsuit.

The case could be appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals where a similar challenge is pending.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted a ban on more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over certain capacities on January 10.

Lawsuits challenging the law were filed in state and federal courts shortly after.

In the U.S. District Court of Southern Illinois, four plaintiffs groups’ cases were consolidated and heard by Judge Stephen McGlynn in East St. Louis earlier this month.

McGlynn on Friday granted a motion for a preliminary injunction, blocking enforcement of the law statewide.

“Plaintiffs have satisfied their burden for a preliminary injunction,” McGlynn wrote.

“They have shown irreparable harm with no adequate remedy at law, a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, that the public interest is in favor of the relief, and the balance of harm weighs in their favor. Therefore, the Plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary injunction are GRANTED. Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing Illinois statutes 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(b) and (c), and 720 ILCS 5/24-1.10, along with the PICA amended provisions set forth in 735 ILCS 5/24-1(a), including subparagraphs (11), (14), (15), and (16), statewide during the pendency of this litigation until the Court can address the merits,” McGlynn said.

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Messages to Pritzker’s office and the office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul were not immediately returned.

It is expected the state will appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals where the court has the case brought by Law Weapons owner Robert Bevis.

Bevis sued Naperville last fall and amended his complaint to include a challenge to the state’s gun ban.

In February, Northern District federal Judge Virginia Kendall ruled in favor of the state and the City of Naperville, saying the state met the burden that the banned firearms are dangerous and can be banned under the history and tradition of how the U.S. regulated firearms.

McGlynn saw things differently from Kendall.

“Although Defendants challenged the veracity of Plaintiffs’ evidence, they were unable to produce evidence showing that modern sporting rifles are both dangerous and unusual. Consequently, Defendants failed to meet their burden to demonstrate that the ‘arms’ banned by [Protect Illinois Communities Act] are ‘dangerous and unusual’ and thus not protected by the Second Amendment,” McGlynn wrote.

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Last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied to grant Bevis a preliminary injunction against the law and Naperville’s ordinance while the case was on appeal.

A separate case earlier this week from Cook County was decided by a Northern District judge siding with the state, the city of Chicago and Cook County.

Several cases are pending in Illinois state court, with one from Macon County challenging the law scheduled for oral arguments in the Illinois Supreme Court on May 16.