First it was a judge in Effingham County who granted a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the state’s new ban on “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines, at least as it applied to the more than 800 plaintiffs who had filed suit. Earlier this week an Illinois appellate court upheld that TRO, and on Thursday a second county judge granted another TRO; this time in White County, where more than 1,000 individuals have banded together to take on the ban.
White County Judge T. Scott Webb found that the lawsuit stood a chance of succeeding because the weapons ban likely violated the equal protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.
The decision mirrors a ruling issued Tuesday by the state’s 5th District Appellate Court that sided with a judge in Effingham County on a similar legal challenge. More than 850 plaintiffs and a handful of firearms dealers in that lawsuit are also temporarily exempt from the gun ban.
The appellate court, however, rejected three other counts in the Effingham County lawsuit, a decision that was mirrored by Judge Webb in the White County case.
Three counts in the Effingham County lawsuit that were rejected by the appellate court also were denied by the White County judge.
Both lawsuits were filed by attorney Thomas DeVore, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general last year against Democratic incumbent Kwame Raoul, who along with Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon is a defendant in the lawsuits.
Like the appellate court ruling, the judge in White County, a rural area in southeastern Illinois bordering Indiana, found that the ban likely violated the equal protection clause of the constitution because it is applied inconsistently. For example, active police officers and military personnel, as well as prison wardens, are exempt from the ban, while retired military personnel are not.
“As Plaintiffs pointed out during oral arguments, it is unclear at best whether prison wardens are required to undergo any firearms training that might justify their exemption from the Act,” Webb wrote in his 11-page ruling. “Additionally, the Act exempts active-duty military members but does not exempt veterans. One would think that veterans would be as qualified and trained in firearms safety as active-duty military members.”
As in the Effingham County lawsuit, the TRO granted by Webb applies only to those plaintiffs named in the suit. There are multiple lawsuits underway in federal court as well that are seeking a restraining order against the law’s enforcement anywhere in Illinois, but they’re moving at a slower pace than the state-level challenges. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn gave Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul until March 2nd to reply to the plaintiffs request for an injunction in a suit brought by the National Shooting Sports Foundation along with two gun owners in the state and an firearms retailer, while a suit filed by the Illinois Gun Rights Alliance was reassigned to McGlynn a few days ago and is also weeks away from a hearing on an injunction.
The wheels of justice may be grinding slowly, but at least they’re turning in the right direction, and I don’t think the news is going to get any better for the anti-gunners who rammed the gun and mag ban through the state legislature as these cases make their way through the courts. Illinois’ Democrats zealous attempt to tread all over the rights of law-abiding residents is already falling apart… though they have helped to sell a lot of guns over the past couple of months.