Attorney General files appeal for assault weapon ban restraining order

Some rifles for sale at a Peoria-area store.
Some rifles for sale at a Peoria-area store.(WEEK)
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 4:53 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PEORIA (25 News Now) - Democratic leaders in Illinois have taken the next step in the legal battle over the assault weapon ban.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul officially filed an appeal on behalf of Governor JB Pritzker, Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D - Hillside), and Senate President Don Harmon (D - Oak Park) requesting the 5th appellate court reverse, vacate and dissolve the temporary restraining order exempting the four gun shops and 860 private gun owners listed in the suit from the assault weapon ban.

The temporary restraining order was granted Friday on the Circuit court level, with former Attorney General candidate and downstate lawyer Tom DeVore bringing the case before Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison.

DeVore did not argue the law violated the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, but rather that the law was passed in an unconstitutional way according to the Illinois State Constitution. He argued Illinois lawmakers violated the single-subject rule, three readings clause, and due process for the public when they passed the legislation earlier this month. Judge Josh Morrison agreed with each of the three arguments.

In this appeal, Raoul is asking judges to see this legal logic as flawed. In several instances, he makes direct challenges to how Morrison decided the case, saying the court “abused its discretion.”

A temporary restraining order is meant to be used as an emergency measure, where someone could suffer irreparable harm if it isn’t in place, but the state argues that is not the case.

As for the constitutional rules at stake, the single-subject rule mandates that each law in the legislature must focus on a single subject, but also not a subject so broad that it would evade the rule.

The three readings rule requires the bill to be read in title three separate times on three separate days on both floors of the statehouse. The bill was read on different days to fulfill those requirements but plaintiffs argue it was done so as a bill concerning insurance. Near the final readings, amendments were submitted to “gut” the original language of the bill and “replace” it with the assault weapon ban or Protect Illinois Communities Act.

Political observers of state government also know it is relatively common practice for lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to file language in shell bills during the final days of a session to get plans passed quickly. Some may even call it the “Springfield way,” as leaders have used the tactic for several decades.

Many major bills, from budgets to provisions like the SAFE-T Act, use that process.

The assault weapons ban, passed in the legislature as the Protect Illinois Communities Act, prohibits the sale, manufacture, delivery, and possession of firearms classified as assault weapons. A link to the extended list of weapons can be found on the Illinois State Police website. Legal gun owners have until next year to register their weapons with the state. Registration begins on October 1.