With one ruling against Illinois’ gun ban on the books, more action in the courts is expected in the days and weeks ahead.
Attorney Thomas DeVore on Friday celebrated a temporary restraining order from an Effingham County court against the state enforcing the gun ban on his 860-plus clients.
“The judge found likelihood of success on the merits of all issues, including the three readings rule,” DeVore said.
Among other issues DeVore argued, Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison focused on the procedural approval of the legislation.
“This Court finds that the Defendants unequivocally and egregiously violated the Three Readings Rule of the Illinois Constitution in order to circumvent the Constitutional requirements and avoid public discourse,” Morrison wrote.
The state constitution requires the legislature to hold three public readings of a bill before a final vote.
The judge also agreed with DeVore that the measure that bans certain semi-automatic guns and magazines improperly exempts individuals from exercising their constitutional rights. Active and retired law enforcement and security professionals were exempt from the law.
“[T]his court cannot find it logical that a warden or a person (included in the exempted persons category) is necessarily better trained or more experienced in the handling of weapons than a retired military personnel (not included in the exempted person category),” Morrison wrote in a ruling Friday.
Before the restraining order was issued Friday, Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker downplayed the idea of lower courts making rulings, equating it to legal wranglings over his COVID-19 mandates last year.
“When there were people who were grandstanding and getting decisions at a lower court who were ultimately ruled unconstitutional or overturned, rather, by appellate courts,” Pritzker said. “The legislation was thoughtfully considered by constitutional experts, legal experts, legislators, advocates.”
After Friday’s decision, Pritzker said to expect an appeal and criticized plaintiffs who he said were advancing ideology over public safety.
Plaintiffs attorney Thomas DeVore tunes that out.
“That’s just the governor marginalizing people that are defending themselves. That’s just how he plays it out with his blow-hearted nature,” DeVore said. “He’ll marginalize and try to demean anyone who does not agree with him.”
There are other pending cases. One state-level case is in Crawford County. That awaits a judge assignment. A federal case in the Southern District of Illinois has yet to schedule a hearing
Sheriffs across the state have said they will not enforce the gun ban and registry.