ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Nearly a third of Illinois’ state’s attorneys are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn the state’s gun ban on certain automatic weapons.
A downstate judge’s ruling struck down that ban on high-powered, semi-automatic firearms and now the case is being considered by the state’s supreme court.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the law on January 10th in response to the shooting deaths of seven at the Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, where 30 were also injured.
The law bans the sale or possession of more than 170 semi-automatic guns and requires current owners of the weapons to register with the state police by January 1st, 2024.
Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock, among other 30 other local law enforcement officials, including Carrol and Jo Daviess, co-signed an Amicus brief, also known as a “friend of the court” brief, which stated in part: “Like all Americans, [we] are horrified by the mass shootings and urban violence our nation has experienced. These are heartbreaking reminders of how much pain and sorrow violent individuals with evil intentions can cause. As prosecutors, we go to work every day to deter such crimes, do justice for victims, put those who would do harm to our communities behind bars, and protect everyone by strengthening the justice system and the rule of law.
The brief continued, saying, “Certain firearms — like the AR-15 — may seem strange and menacing to those with little experience with firearms, but they are quite normal and valuable to many millions of responsible, law-abiding Americans. In fact, it is the experience of [the undersigned] that typical use of such firearms is self-defense and recreation — for which they are quite well-suited — and not violent crime.”
Many county sheriffs across the state have said they will not enforce the ban, as it conflicts with the 2nd, 5th, and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which grants citizens the right to bear arms, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to equal protection under the law.
Proponents of the law have labeled the guns as “assault weapons,” but gun shop owners have argued that true assault weapons – those used by the U.S. military – are already illegal. They are fully automatic machine guns like the M16 and the AK47, which were banned by the federal government in 1986.
Several lawsuits have been filed against Illinois over the ban, and are proceeding through the judicial system.