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 August 14, 2023

Illinois Supreme Court rules for state AR-15 ban

After Republicans challenged the law as unconstitutional, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of a prohibition on AR-15s and other similar firearms.

Illinois could ban the sale of certain handguns, rifles like AR-15s, magazines for long firearms holding more than 10 rounds, and magazines for handguns holding more than 15 rounds, the court ruled in a narrow 4-3 decision, as The Daily Wire reported.

In her majority decision, Democratic Judge Elizabeth Rochford stated that the plaintiffs were attempting to "piggyback a second amendment claim" onto an equal protection argument, stating that an argument that the law violates the Second Amendment could not be made because of the plaintiffs' previous line of argumentation.

The Illinois governor who signed the ban into law, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, lauded the court's decision. This is a commonsense gun reform law to keep mass-killing machines off of our streets and out of our schools, malls, parks, and places of worship,” Pritzker said.

“Illinoisans deserve to feel safe in every corner of our state — whether they are attending a Fourth of July Parade or heading to work — and that’s precisely what the Protect Illinois Communities Act accomplishes,” he said in a statement.

Pritzker was referring to an incident that occurred in Highland Park on July 4, 2022 that resulted in seven fatalities and dozens of injuries.

In her dissent, Judge Lisa Holder White cited the founding of the United States to defend the right of citizens to own firearms for protection.

“This great nation was founded on the premise that the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms is essential to what it means to be a free people. The right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms and to arm themselves to protect their families, their homes, and themselves must not be infringed,” she wrote.

“Belief in the previously mentioned precepts in no way diminishes the fact that all law-abiding citizens desire safe communities where schools, workplaces, houses of worship, and public gatherings are free from gun violence.”

She went on to say that the "procedural requirements" of the constitution had not been satisfied when the bill was passed, which is why it ought to be overturned.

"The tension between the previously mentioned tenets are why this case is of such importance to the people of the state of Illinois," the justice went on.

"However, if this court is to adhere to the Illinois Constitution, we cannot address the question of the firearm restrictions at issue in this case. Important as this case is, constitutionally embedded process matters."

An earlier decision by the Supreme Court of the United States stated that it would wait for a decision from an appeals court before considering whether or not to entertain a challenge to the case.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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