Briefs against Illinois’ gun ban filed in federal court as separate FOID case heard in state court



(The Center Square) – Lawsuits challenging Illinois’ gun laws are well underway in state and federal courts with separate challenges to the constitutionality of the recently enacted gun and magazine ban and the decades old Firearm Owners Identification card.

In January, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a ban on more than 170 semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns. He also banned the sale and possession of magazines with more than 15 rounds for handguns and 10 rounds for rifles.

Challenges in both the Southern and Northern district federal courts resulted in different outcomes. The Southern District issued a preliminary injunction against the state from enforcing the law. Northern District judges sided with the state. On appeal, the Southern District’s injunction was reversed with a stay and the cases were consolidated with cases from the Northern District.

Earlier this month, Illinois’ briefs in the consolidated case in front of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals argued modern firearms are dangerous because of advanced technology, are only used by criminals, and recent mass shootings require the ban.

Plaintiffs filed their briefs this week. Tuesday, attorney David Sigale, who is representing a plaintiff’s group, said firearm technology isn’t new, it’s been around for hundreds of years. He also said as horrible as violent crime is, that also is not new.

“And the way to solve this problem is not to strip the rights away from and criminalize the behavior of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of law-abiding people of this state,” Sigale told The Center Square.

Reply briefs in the gun ban challenge are due to the federal appeals court June 26. The case will be argued in Chicago June 29. While Sigale hopes the appeals court issues an expeditious ruling, he said it’s possible they could hold off until early next year, after part of Illinois’ law requiring registration kicks in.

Separately, a Sangamon County judge now has a case challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ FOID law under review.

The FOID card has been Illinois law for decades. Any Illinoisans wanting to buy or own firearms or ammunition must have a valid card or face criminal penalties. There are more than 2.4 million FOID card holders in Illinois. Only four states have such a requirement for the purchase and possession of firearms.

In Illinois, Guns Save Life founder John Boch brought a case challenging Illinois’ FOID law in 2019. He said recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent requires courts to evaluate the text, history and tradition of the Second Amendment in such challenges.

“And of course there were no FOID cards in 1791, so there’s no historical analog the state can point to for legitimizing this unconstitutional restriction of our rights, to require people to register, to pay for their constitutional rights, their fundamental constitutional rights,” Boch said in April.

A hearing in the FOID case was delayed from April. With a new judge, plaintiffs and the state argued the issue Tuesday. Proposed orders are due to the judge within 21 days.



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