Judge Blocks Sweeping Illinois Gun Control Law

A new Illinois law attacking residents’ rights to purchase and own a wide range of popular firearms and magazines was temporarily halted by a circuit judge.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed the so-called Protect Illinois Communities Act into law to ban the sale and distribution of semiautomatic weapons. However, just days before it was to take effect, Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison issued a temporary restraining order (TRO).

The limited ruling comes in a suit brought by former candidate for attorney general Tom DeVore on behalf of more than 860 plaintiffs. He declared in a press release that his action represented citizens from 87 counties who lined up in opposition to the new measure.

DeVore called the new statute “an outright attack on the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners across the state.” The law, signed on Jan. 10, does not confiscate weapons from those who currently own them but requires that the owner register them with Illinois State Police.

Along with targeting many popular types of semiautomatic rifles, the law prohibits .50 caliber guns, certain attachments, and lowers the magazine capacity to 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for pistols.

The judge’s decision only shields the specific plaintiffs and four licensed Illinois gun dealers.

The law sparked a firestorm of controversy in the state. The Wall Street Journal reported that almost “every sheriff in Illinois has vowed not to enforce a new ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons.” The outlet said at least 80 sheriffs refuse to implement the statute.

This, of course, drew anger and threats from the governor’s office.

Judge Morrison noted in his 11-page ruling that the fundamental right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights as well as Illinois’ state constitution.

He further declared that the hundreds of plaintiffs from across the state “are being immediately and irreparably harmed each day in which their fundamental right to bear arms is denied.”

The state immediately announced that it will appeal Morrison’s ruling. Gov. Pritzker said he was not surprised by the decision and accused the plaintiffs of putting “ideology over public safety.”

The Second Amendment is hardly vague, yet it is under a daily threat across the country as grandstanding politicians attack this most basic of freedoms. This latest assault on Americans’ liberties deserves to be permanently derailed.