While Illinois Gun Owners Celebrate Statewide Halt to Gun Ban, Local Challenges Continue



While Illinois Gun Owners Celebrate Statewide Halt to Gun Ban, Local Challenges Continue (Springfield, IL) (via The Center Square) — Illinois gun owners are celebrating a victory in federal court as a judge has blocked the state from enforcing its new gun and magazine ban, but some local bans still apply.

The state banned the sale of more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over a certain capacity on Jan. 10. A slew of legal challenges were filed shortly after.

On April 10, one phase of the state law kicked in that leveled petty offenses with $1,000 fines for being found with noncompliant magazines, and up to a Class 3 felony for being found with noncompliant firearms. A registry was set to be opened between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1, 2024, with penalties for noncompliance. The ban and registry did not apply to active or retired police or others in the law enforcement or security sectors.

Friday in federal court, Southern District of Illinois Judge Stephen McGlynn ruled in favor of four plaintiffs groups to block the law.

“We want to thank Judge McGlynn for issuing his ruling today,” Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said. “We have said from day one that this law is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of legal firearm owners in our state.”

The state has filed for an appeal and for a motion that McGlynn reverse his decision pending appeal.

In his order issuing the preliminary injunction Friday, McGlynn said Illinois’ ban doesn’t consider previous U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

“The Supreme Court in [New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen] and [Heller v. DC] held that citizens have a constitutional right to own and possess firearms and may use them for self-defense. PICA [the Protect Illinois Communities Act] seems to be written in spite of the clear directives in Bruen and Heller, not in conformity with them,” McGlynn wrote. “Whether well intentioned, brilliant, or arrogant, no state may enact a law that denies its citizens rights that the Constitution guarantees them.”

Gun Owners of America’s Luis Valdes said the judge’s ruling is a win for gun owners in Illinois.

“We are now on the offensive footing. We are now able to prove that ‘hey, this is constitutional,’” Valdes told The Center Square. “We the people have the right to keep and bear arms. We have the right to own firearms. We have the right to own AR-15s. We have the right to own standard capacity magazines, not these neutered 10-round only magazines.”

Among other firearms the state outlawed, Illinois’ ban prohibited the sale of AR-15 platform firearms plaintiffs say are among the most popular and common firearms owned. The ban also prohibited the sale and possession of magazines of more than 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for handguns. Friday’s order from McGlynn put that on hold.

“This means ALL banned firearms and magazines under the act can be bought and sold again!” an email from Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines said. “The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to prevent enforcement of the ban until the final hearing of the entire case.”

State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, who sponsored the legislation enabling the ban, was disappointed with McGlynn’s decision, but his office noted other elements of the law are intact.


“This injunction does not impact the prohibition on rapid-fire devices, the interstate firearm trafficking strike force, or extension of the duration of a firearm restraining order established under [House Bill 5471],” Morgan’s office said.

Late Friday, the state appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The state also requested McGlynn reverse his injunction against enforcing the law, arguing among other things the judge’s preliminary injunction misapplies previous U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Gun control advocate John Schmidt with G-PAC said in a statement McGlynn’s analysis is wrong.

“It is directly contrary to the prior decisions of two Chicago federal judges, Judge Virginia Kendall and Judge Lindsay Jenkins, both of whom found the new statute ‘constitutionally sound’ and declined relief,” Schmidt said.

Jenkins on Wednesday sided with Cook County, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois, upholding the local gun and magazine bans as well as the state’s. Plaintiffs have appealed to the Seventh Circuit. In February, Kendall sided with bans from Naperville and the state of Illinois. Plaintiffs in that case have also appealed to the Seventh Circuit. In the Naperville appeal, plaintiffs’ motion to block the law pending appeal was denied.

Before McGlynn’s order blocking the state law was issued out of the Southern District Friday, Hannah Hill with National Foundation for Gun Rights said Naperville plaintiffs are now asking for the U.S. Supreme Court to block not just the state’s ban, but Naperville’s ban while their case continues on appeal.

“If they can prove that the law is trampling on a constitutional right, you are creating an irreparable injury every day that unconstitutional law is in effect,” Hill told The Center Square. “Our plaintiff, Robert Bevis, who owns Law Weapons Supply in Naperville, is facing the loss of his business as long as the Naperville AR-15 sale ban is in place.”

Other local governments that have similar bans include Highland Park and Deerfield.

Valdes said Friday’s decision from McGlynn backs up plaintiffs who say the government can’t use objectives of public safety to restrict constitutional rights.

“The anti-gun forces within Illinois, they were using older judicial practices such as balancing interests, which the Supreme Court in [New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen] ruled doesn’t fly anymore,” Valdes said.

The federal cases challenging the law on Second Amendment grounds are separate from the ongoing litigation in state court. The Illinois Supreme Court is set May 16 to hear a challenge that the law violates equal protections by not applying to some – those in the law enforcement and security industries – while applying to others.

While Illinois Gun Owners Celebrate Statewide Halt to Gun Ban, Local Challenges Continue

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