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Ill. AG appeals judge’s restraining order on new firearms ban

More than 90 of the state’s 102 sheriffs say they won’t aggressively enforce the law


Photo/AP via Charles Rex Arbogast

By John O’Connor
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Monday asked a state appellate court to dismiss a temporary restraining order on Illinois’ new ban on semiautomatic weapons. The two-week-old law was adopted in response to a mass shooting at the July 4th parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

Raoul filed the request with the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon. It contends the restraining order issued last Friday by Effingham County Circuit Judge Joshua Morrison was improper because of contrary state Supreme Court rulings and the lawsuit’s inability to prove the gun ban’s approval violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the prohibition into law on Jan. 10. It outlaws the manufacture or possession of dozens of specific types of semiautomatic long guns and pistols and high-capacity ammunition cartridges. Four gun merchants, led by Accuracy Firearms in Effingham, 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of St. Louis, and 850 individuals filed the lawsuit.

It claims that the law was improperly enacted and lacking proper public input. It also asserts a violation of the nation’s guarantee of equal protection of the law by exempting from enforcement categories of people based on occupation or training — retired police officers, for example.

Raoul’s appeal disputes those notions and says there is no evidence exemptions are granted unfairly.

The law requires those who owned such rapid-fire weapons prior to Jan. 10 to register them with the Illinois State Police before Jan. 1, 2024. Gun dealers may sell existing stock to out-of-state customers or return it to manufacturers.

Opposition to the law, based on critics’ assessment that it violates the 2nd Amendment, remains so strong that more than 90 of the state’s 102 sheriffs say they won’t aggressively enforce it, prompting scathing admonitions from Pritzker and Raoul.

A federal lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality also was filed last week by a southern Illinois gun-shop owner and backed by gun-rights groups including the Illinois State Rifle Association.

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