(The Center Square) – A Macon County judge on Friday took under advisement a final order that would declare Illinois’ gun ban and registry unconstitutional.
If Judge Rodney Forbes signs an agreed order declaring the measure unconstitutional, as he is expected to do, it would set up a direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Forbes said Friday after a status hearing that he would decide “in a couple of days.”
Forbes’ hands are legally tied because Illinois’ 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a higher court, already upheld a similar ruling granting a temporary restraining order preventing enforcement of the ban against named plaintiffs.
The state of Illinois, which agreed to the language of the final order in the Macon County case, argues that the appellate court is wrong and is hoping to get it before the Supreme Court as quickly as possible.
Gov. J.B. Pritzer enacted the ban on certain semi-automatic weapons and magazines over certain capacities on Jan. 10. The measure also requires residents in Illinois who legally purchased such weapons before the ban to register them with Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024.
Two weeks after the ban was in effect, lawsuits were filed in federal- and state-level courts.
The case argued Friday was brought be state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, and had a temporary restraining order in place barring the state from enforcing the law against named plaintiffs. It is separate from three other cases brought by attorney Thomas DeVore in Effingham and White counties. DeVore’s cases, which were consolidated by the Illinois Supreme Court, also have temporary restraining orders in place.
DeVore’s initial Effingham County case secured a TRO on several procedural issues and on an argument the law violates equal protections for exempting certain professions in security and law enforcement.
The state appealed and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the TRO, but only for the equal protections argument. That led to a cascade of three other TROs to be issued, including for the Macon County case which dealt with the equal protections argument.
In federal court, four cases consolidated in the Southern District of Illinois have a hearing set for April 12. The state filed its response to a motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday arguing the ban addresses dangerous and unusual weapons the Founders of the U.S. Constitution couldn’t imagine in the 18th Century. Plaintiffs argue the law violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.