SPRINGFIELD, IL - When the state of Illinois passed draconian gun control laws in January, most knew it was only a matter of time before the matter would make its way to the Supreme Court. That day has come.
The ban was enacted on January 10, 2023, when plus-sized Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) signed the bill into law. That had the effect of banning more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over specific capacities. A portion of that law requires the registration of firearms, including those previously owned, mandating they be registered with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024.
Those found out of compliance will face a number of penalties.
As expected, many lawsuits were filed against the measure in state and federal courts. The dysfunctional judicial system issued a number of outcomes on both ends of the spectrum, including a preliminary injunction against implementation of the law that was stayed, thousands of temporary restraining orders being issued in state courts being vacated, as well as continuing filings challenging the measure on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds.
In other words, it’s a hot mess.
Last Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court put a case on the docket brought by Rep. Dan Caulkins (R), a state representative representing Decatur, that challenges the state’s gun and magazine ban. On the same day, a federal court in the Southern District of Illinois denied a motion by the state to delay responding to plaintiffs seeking an injunction against the Jan. 1, 2024 deadline.
Also, last week, a second separate motion was filed to have the entire Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals review the case. In other words, 2A advocates in Illinois are not taking this lying down.
Caulkins saw some success earlier this year, where a case taken to state court received a favorable ruling against the law in Macon County. As expected, the state appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. Still, in a case of three-dimensional chess for the time, Caulkins entered a motion to have two of the Illinois Supreme Court justices who pocketed $1 million each in campaign contributions from Pritzker to recuse themselves. As is typical in crooked Democrat-run states, the motion was denied, and to nobody’s surprise, the Supreme Court sided with Pritzker and the state.
Pritzker, who has never bypassed the buffet at Golden Corral, called the conflict-of-interest allegations “ridiculous.”
When Caulkins learned last week that the U.S. Supreme Court had docketed the case, he hoped the high court would examine the perceived conflicts by the two Illinois justices and disqualify them, leading to the state’s gun control law being overturned.
“This is an affront to our republican form of government, separation of powers,” Caulkins told The Center Square regarding the conflict of interest. “Really, that is why we took this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, despite two of three judges from the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling the state had a high likelihood of succeeding on the merits of that case, several plaintiffs, including Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the Jan. 1 deadline to register banned items. On Tuesday, Southern District of Illinois Judge Stephen McGlynn denied the state’s attempt to delay responding, ordering a Dec. 21 date for a status hearing.
One gun rights advocate, Todd Vandermyde, said on his YouTube channel last week he hopes oral arguments come soon.
“It is possible that we get oral arguments in the very early part of December, hopefully in time to seek an injunction staying the end date on the registration component,” Vandermyde said.
Meanwhile, in updates from other cases, a motion was filed by plaintiffs in Naperville for a full appeals bench review of the Second Amendment challenge. Attorney Thomas Maag had previously requested a similar appeal in the Seventh Circuit for the plaintiff's group he represents.
There is a separate challenge of the state’s ban and registry filed by Maag, arguing it is unconstitutionally vague. That is pending in the Southern District of Illinois. Judge McGlynn heard a motion for final judgment in that case in October.