State Supreme Court denies state lawmaker’s bid to vacate gun ban ruling

State Supreme Court denies state lawmaker’s bid to vacate gun ban ruling

By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

The Illinois Supreme Court has again denied a request from a Republican lawmaker seeking to repeal the state’s assault weapons ban.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the ban on the sale, possession and manufacture of a long list of firearms, high-capacity magazines and certain accessories in January 2023. State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, quickly challenged it on state constitutional grounds along with local gun owners and a gun shop owner.

Read more: What to know about Illinois’ assault weapons ban

In August, the state Supreme Court ruled against Caulkins in a 4-3 decision. Caulkins had argued that because certain individuals can still own banned weapons legally if they get a special endorsement on their firearm owners identification card while others cannot, the law constitutes “special legislation.”

Read more: Illinois Supreme Court upholds assault weapon ban, but federal test remains

Democratic Justice Mary K. O’Brien joined the court’s two Republicans in dissenting. She wrote that she believed the majority should have viewed it as special legislation because a law written more generally would have accomplished the same goal without treating different classes differently.

Last month, Caulkins appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He argued that because O’Brien and Democratic Justice Elizabeth Rochford, who wrote the majority opinion, had received donations from campaign funds tied to the Democratic leaders named as defendants in the case, he was not given a fair hearing. The court declined to hear his appeal.

Read more: SCOTUS denies one appeal of assault weapons ban while another waits in the wings

On Jan. 22, Caulkins petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to vacate its August judgment based on the same argument. The state Supreme Court denied that request Monday.

It does not mark the end of the legal challenges for the assault weapons ban.

While the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court both declined to block enforcement of the law temporarily, a gun rights group has said it will appeal to the full U.S. high court to challenge the law’s legality on federal constitutional grounds.

Read more: Federal appeals court upholds Illinois’ assault weapons ban | U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block assault weapons ban as full legal challenges progress

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

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