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Attorney presses ‘vagueness’ challenge to Illinois’ gun, magazine ban

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(The Center Square) – An attorney challenging Illinois’ gun and magazine ban is looking to block the law on grounds it is too vague and if that doesn’t work, he’ll challenge the law on Fifth Amendment grounds.

Consolidated Second Amendment challenges in front of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals are still pending. Oral arguments were heard June 29. Attorney Thomas Maag, who represents plaintiffs in the case Langley v. Kelly, said he’s ready to argue in the Southern District that previous precedent proves the law is unconstitutional.

“Springfield Armory v. The City of Columbus specifically, we’ll find that the firearm and magazine ban is, if not completely, at least largely, unconstitutionally vague,” Maag told The Center Square.

A summary judgment hearing is scheduled Oct. 11 in front of Judge Stephen McGlynn, the same judge that ruled a preliminary injunction against the gun ban on Second Amendment grounds in April. That injunction lasted six days before the appeals court consolidated cases with Northern District cases and issued a stay.

If the vagueness argument doesn’t lead to an injunction, Maag said he’ll revive his Fifth Amendment argument that the law violates the right against self-incrimination.

“This particular, our Illinois registration requirement, suffers from the exact same defect identified in [Haynes v. United States] fifty-something years ago,” Maag said.

Maag said the 1968 case found registration under the National Firearms Act didn’t protect registrants having such information used against them. The challenged Illinois law requires certain firearms and attachments owned before the law was enacted to be registered by Jan. 1, 2024, or criminal penalties could apply.

In a separate case challenging Illinois’ Firearm Owner Identification Card, Illinois State Police received a second extension to answer a legal challenge. The FOID is required for Illinois residents that want to buy or own firearms and ammunition.

In the case Gary Myers v. Brendan Kelly transferred to federal court in July, the Illinois State Police have already been granted one extension from the Southern District. On Tuesday, a second request was granted.

Representing the plaintiffs in that case, Maag said such requests are par for the course from Illinois defending against constitutional challenges of state laws.

“It really is justice being delayed thus resulting in justice being denied,” Maag said. “But eventually, we will win, I’m quite certain.”

On Wednesday, the judge overseeing the case changed twice. Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly was replaced by Magistrate Judge Mark Beatty. A separate order Wednesday replaced Beatty with Judge J. Phil Gilbert.

The case also challenges Illinois’ law that limits state-level challenges to only 2 of Illinois’ 102 counties.

“Illinois is continuing to violate their citizens’ constitutional rights and most of these persons don’t live in Cook County or anywhere near it and most of the citizens of this state don’t live in Sangamon County, i.e. Springfield,” Maag said.

Aside from that federal challenge to the venue-limit law, Maag said there are four other state-level challenges he has pending.

In a separate Southern District federal challenge of Illinois’ law allowing lawsuits against the firearms industry for how they advertise or for allegedly making the public less safe, Beatty was replaced with Judge Staci Yandle. Beatty was the original judge assigned to the case brought by the National Shooting Sports Foundation but was then replaced by McGlynn before Beatty was again assigned. An order Wednesday said Yandle will handle further proceedings.

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