Gun rights advocates file opening legal challenges to Illinois’ assault weapons ban

Gun rights advocates file opening legal challenges to Illinois’ assault weapons ban

By HANNAH MEISEL
For Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – A trio of gun owners and a firearms retailer in southeastern Illinois have filed the first two lawsuits in what’s expected to be a flurry of litigation against the state’s new law banning the sale and manufacture of assault weapons in Illinois.

Democratic leaders who pushed the ban had expected legal challenges. Senate President Don Harmon, who sponsored the legislation during lawmakers’ “lame duck” session last week, even closed his arguments during floor debate with a pithy “see you in court.”

Even before Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law, the Illinois State Rifle Association responded in a statement saying, “challenge accepted.”

As of Tuesday afternoon – nearly a week after Pritzker’s signature on the legislation – the group still hadn’t filed its lawsuit, but ISRA’s executive director Richard Pearson said he’d be “filing a federal lawsuit imminently.”

Meanwhile, Wood River-based attorney Thomas Maag filed suit Friday afternoon in Crawford County on behalf of three gun owners. Despite longer odds for success in a non-federal court venue, Maag on Tuesday framed his 16-page lawsuit as democratic idealism.

“State court is the court that’s closest to the people,” Maag said. “The people affected by this (law) are people in the state of Illinois. We think state court can clean up the mess created by the governor and legislature of the state of Illinois.”

The assault weapons ban, which will effectively ban Illinoisans from buying new assault-style rifles in the state, will require those who already own such firearms as of Jan. 1, 2024, to register those guns with the state police.

Illinois is the ninth state to enact some form of a ban on assault weapons, all of which have survived legal challenges so far. But gun rights advocates are counting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year striking down New York state’s handgun-licensing law to usher in a more permissive interpretation of the Second Amendment and a new era of litigation re-examining state and local gun laws.

The lawsuits challenging Illinois’ new law draws on that updated interpretation, which the conservative majority on the court defined as a broad right for Americans to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. The opinion’s author, Clarence Thomas, wrote that going forward, courts should only uphold laws restricting guns “if a firearm regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition.”

Additionally, Maag’s suit claims the law’s assault weapons registration requirement is unconstitutional because that registration could be used against someone in criminal court – a form of self-incrimination protected against under the Fifth Amendment.

But the meatiest part of Maag’s suit attacks Illinois’ ban on high-capacity magazines as unworkable.

Maag provided dozens of examples of specific guns and their standard magazine capacities, illustrating how the law’s ban on magazines over 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns is at odds with what’s actually on the market.

The U.S. M1 Carbine, for example, which Maag characterized as “one of the most popular firearms” both in the U.S. and internationally, has had a standard 30-round capacity since 1944.

“Of firearms designed and sold for self defense, those with magazine capacities of 10 rounds or less are rare and unusual, and those pistols with 15 or fewer rounds are usually compact versions of normal firearms, or historical and obsolete” Maag wrote in his suit.

The suit also claimed the ban on high-capacity magazines is “unconstitutionally vague.”

“It is objectively impossible to determine a given ammunition capacity without knowing what ammunition will be fed into it,” Maag wrote in his suit. “As such, no objectively intelligent person can determine whether a given ammunition magazine is legal, simply be [sic] looking at it, and likely even with expert advice.”

Along with Maag’s lawsuit, unsuccessful Republican attorney general candidate Tom DeVore filed suit over the assault weapons ban in Effingham County, and on Tuesday touted a preliminary hearing in the case expected Wednesday. DeVore, who made a name for himself filing lawsuits over Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021, filed suit on behalf of Effingham-based gun retailer and shooting range Accuracy Firearms LLC.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

new lane configuration 2-6-23

Tri-State lane closures start Monday as area ramps prepare to reopen

Spread the love

Spread the loveOvernight lane closures are scheduled next week to shift traffic on Interstate 55 and on the northbound Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 294) between Willow Springs Road and Plainfield Road and reopen the ramp connecting northbound I-294 to southbound I-55 and Wolf Road. On Monday, February 6, beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing until 5…

Newly installed Orland Park Area Chamber president Ramzi Hassan addresses members during last week’s installation dinner. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Comings & Goings: Orland Area Chamber installs new officers

Spread the love

Spread the loveRamzi Hassan of Edwards Realty Company was installed last week as president of the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce. The 2023 board of directors was also installed and annual membership awards were handed out during ceremonies last Thursday at the Crystal Tree Country Club. Installation duties were performed by Orland Park Mayor…

Oak Lawn resident Clayton J. Beck III displays his work of art accompanied by the model at the first unofficial event for the Acorn to Oak Studios at the Pilgrim Faith Church campus. Beck will be on hand to moderate the first official session to be held Sunday at the church. (Supplied photo)

Oak Lawn studio wants to be haven for artists

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle An acorn may be the symbol that inspires the Oak Lawn community to unleash its artistic talents. The first official session of the Acorn to Oak Studios will be presented from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, in the north wing of the Pilgrim Faith Church campus, 9411 S.…

Matt Dugan

EPCHS names Matthew Dugan next principal

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Evergreen Park Community High School has hired Matthew Dugan as its next principal. Dugan’s appointment was made official during the January 24 meeting of the Evergreen Park Community High School Board of Education. Dugan will become principal on July 1, upon the retirement of current Principal Bill Sanderson. “I am…

Willow Springs resident Jim Distasio was the first speaker to criticize the proposed land sale for use as an industrial park. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Township school board rejects sale of 70-acre parcel in Willow Springs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch The sale of 70 acres in Willow Springs to a developer who wants to build an industrial park has been rejected by the Lyons Township High School District 204 board, but the door remains wide open to a sale. The board voted unanimously Jan. 23 to reject bids of $46.5…

Children enjoying themselves at Flying High in Countryside on January 14. (Supplied photo)

Venezuelan asylum seeking families enjoy a night out at Flying High in Countryside

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan Twenty-three adults and 30 children of Venezuelan families seeking asylum enjoyed a fun night out on January 14 courtesy of Flying High in Countryside. The event was a collaboration between St. Cletus Church in LaGrange, and Flying High, at 5400 East Avenue in Countryside. Flying High opened their gym doors…

All that's left of Georgis Catering is a burned out shell. To the right, is mom and Dad's Deli, which suffered smoke and water damage. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Georgis Catering owner vows to rebuild after fire

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Georgis Catering owner Buz Georgis is maintaining an upbeat outlook despite the destruction of his business in an early-morning fire Friday at 63rd Place and Central Avenue in Chicago’s Clearing neighborhood. “It’s been a pretty crazy week,” he said Monday. “But we are moving forward and we plan on being…

dvn beds plus soup1 2023

BEDS Plus Soup & Bread event to raise money to assist the homeless

Spread the love

Spread the love By Steve Metsch One way to warm up on a cold winter’s day is with a bowl of soup. And on Sunday, soup lovers can sample 20 different soups and also get the warm feeling received by helping a local charitable organization. BEDS Plus, which helps the homeless through the southwest suburbs,…

District 230 board member Dave O'Connor urges Sandburg parents to consider having their students take dual credit courses to save college tuition money at the Jan. 26 meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Sandburg/MVCC dual courses could save plenty of money

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The price of college tuition keeps going up and shows no sign of ever going down. Thus, District 230 Board Member Dave O’Connor is urging Sandburg parents with college-bound students to take a long look at the school’s dual credit program with Moraine Valley. “We get students here who will…

Cubework has purchased the former Sears propertry at Orland Square Mall. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Cubework to turn Orland Park Sears site into Coworking Mall

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong That vast empty space at Orland Square Mall that was once the home of retail giant Sears may be getting new life. California-based Cubework has purchased the former Sears property at Orland Square Mall and is marketing the former mall anchor store as a Coworking Mall. The 16-acre purchase includes…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
new lane configuration 2-6-23

Tri-State lane closures start Monday as area ramps prepare to reopen

Spread the love

Spread the loveOvernight lane closures are scheduled next week to shift traffic on Interstate 55 and on the northbound Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 294) between Willow Springs Road and Plainfield Road and reopen the ramp connecting northbound I-294 to southbound I-55 and Wolf Road. On Monday, February 6, beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing until 5…

Newly installed Orland Park Area Chamber president Ramzi Hassan addresses members during last week’s installation dinner. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Comings & Goings: Orland Area Chamber installs new officers

Spread the love

Spread the loveRamzi Hassan of Edwards Realty Company was installed last week as president of the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce. The 2023 board of directors was also installed and annual membership awards were handed out during ceremonies last Thursday at the Crystal Tree Country Club. Installation duties were performed by Orland Park Mayor…

Oak Lawn resident Clayton J. Beck III displays his work of art accompanied by the model at the first unofficial event for the Acorn to Oak Studios at the Pilgrim Faith Church campus. Beck will be on hand to moderate the first official session to be held Sunday at the church. (Supplied photo)

Oak Lawn studio wants to be haven for artists

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle An acorn may be the symbol that inspires the Oak Lawn community to unleash its artistic talents. The first official session of the Acorn to Oak Studios will be presented from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, in the north wing of the Pilgrim Faith Church campus, 9411 S.…

Matt Dugan

EPCHS names Matthew Dugan next principal

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Evergreen Park Community High School has hired Matthew Dugan as its next principal. Dugan’s appointment was made official during the January 24 meeting of the Evergreen Park Community High School Board of Education. Dugan will become principal on July 1, upon the retirement of current Principal Bill Sanderson. “I am…

Willow Springs resident Jim Distasio was the first speaker to criticize the proposed land sale for use as an industrial park. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Township school board rejects sale of 70-acre parcel in Willow Springs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch The sale of 70 acres in Willow Springs to a developer who wants to build an industrial park has been rejected by the Lyons Township High School District 204 board, but the door remains wide open to a sale. The board voted unanimously Jan. 23 to reject bids of $46.5…

Children enjoying themselves at Flying High in Countryside on January 14. (Supplied photo)

Venezuelan asylum seeking families enjoy a night out at Flying High in Countryside

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan Twenty-three adults and 30 children of Venezuelan families seeking asylum enjoyed a fun night out on January 14 courtesy of Flying High in Countryside. The event was a collaboration between St. Cletus Church in LaGrange, and Flying High, at 5400 East Avenue in Countryside. Flying High opened their gym doors…

All that's left of Georgis Catering is a burned out shell. To the right, is mom and Dad's Deli, which suffered smoke and water damage. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Georgis Catering owner vows to rebuild after fire

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Georgis Catering owner Buz Georgis is maintaining an upbeat outlook despite the destruction of his business in an early-morning fire Friday at 63rd Place and Central Avenue in Chicago’s Clearing neighborhood. “It’s been a pretty crazy week,” he said Monday. “But we are moving forward and we plan on being…

dvn beds plus soup1 2023

BEDS Plus Soup & Bread event to raise money to assist the homeless

Spread the love

Spread the love By Steve Metsch One way to warm up on a cold winter’s day is with a bowl of soup. And on Sunday, soup lovers can sample 20 different soups and also get the warm feeling received by helping a local charitable organization. BEDS Plus, which helps the homeless through the southwest suburbs,…

District 230 board member Dave O'Connor urges Sandburg parents to consider having their students take dual credit courses to save college tuition money at the Jan. 26 meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Sandburg/MVCC dual courses could save plenty of money

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The price of college tuition keeps going up and shows no sign of ever going down. Thus, District 230 Board Member Dave O’Connor is urging Sandburg parents with college-bound students to take a long look at the school’s dual credit program with Moraine Valley. “We get students here who will…

Cubework has purchased the former Sears propertry at Orland Square Mall. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Cubework to turn Orland Park Sears site into Coworking Mall

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong That vast empty space at Orland Square Mall that was once the home of retail giant Sears may be getting new life. California-based Cubework has purchased the former Sears property at Orland Square Mall and is marketing the former mall anchor store as a Coworking Mall. The 16-acre purchase includes…

CRR NH Harmony Restaurant House Ad
Regional Capri Pizza House Ad