Those on both sides of IL assault weapon ban debate wait for lawsuits to playout

Several lawsuits call “Protect Illinois Communities Act” unconstitutional
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:59 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Several lawsuits challenging Illinois’ new law banning assault weapons and extended magazines are being reviewed by judges.

Former Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general, Thomas DeVore, is leading litigation with more than 860 plaintiffs from dozens of Illinois counties.

A judge in Effingham County heard arguments Wednesday. The judge stated a decision will likely come by the end of business Friday.

A joint lawsuit that was filed in the Southern District of Illinois on Tuesday by multiple gun-rights groups, including the Illinois State Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition, argues that the ban infringes on citizens’ constitutional rights.

The “Protect Illinois Communities Act” bans assault weapons from being purchased, owned, sold, delivered and manufactured in the state. It also takes the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21. It would also ban the purchase or manufacture of extended magazines for weapons. Gun owners can have no more than 10-round magazines for long guns and 15-round mags for handguns.

The legislation stems from last July 4th’s parade attack in suburban Chicago. The gunman used an AR-15-style rifle and fired dozens of rounds into the crowd, killing seven and injuring nearly 50.

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Office doubled down Wednesday in a statement to News 4:

“The Governor is confident the courts will uphold the constitutionality of the Protect Illinois Communities Act. This legislation was the result of hundreds of hours of collaboration and cooperation between legal experts, legislators, and advocates, and it makes Illinois a safer place for every resident. Despite political grandstanding from those more beholden to the gun lobby than to the safety of their constituents, this law is in effect and protecting Illinoisans from the constant fear of being gunned down in a place of worship, at a parade, or on a street corner.”

“Too many people in Cook County are ruining the reputation and good name of good gun buyers in Southern Illinois,” said Anthony Caito, co-owner of Shooter’s Firearms in Columbia, Illinois. “His definition of assault weapon is vague. I mean--it covers everything across the board handguns, rifles--shotguns. We’ve actually already taken them of the shelves...once it was signed into law, we can no longer sell...anything that he deems as an assault weapon style. Even high-capacity mags for handguns. You’re making felons out of legal gun buyers. I’m not getting rid of them. I’m not selling them back to the manufacturer or anything like that, and I’m hopeful that this’ll get blocked.”

“I think whatever we can do to decrease the risk would be great,” Edwardsville-area resident Mike Krewson told News 4.