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Dec. 12 oral arguments set in case challenging Illinois gun ban registry

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(The Center Square) – A federal district judge expects to issue a ruling in a case challenging Illinois’ gun ban registry before the Jan. 1 deadline kicks in. That would come after oral arguments in the case, which are set for the afternoon of Dec. 12.

Illinois banned more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over certain capacities on Jan. 10 of this year. The law includes a registry requirement for those who owned now banned firearms before the Jan. 10 enactment. That registry opened with emergency rules on Oct. 1 with a Jan. 1, 2024, deadline to register. Those found out of compliance could face criminal penalties.

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, was among the first to provide public comments during hearings held by the Illinois State Police in October and earlier this month. He also raised questions about the registration process on the state House floor earlier this month. This week, he said his questions have yet to be answered.

“We trust that we will hear a lot more in December at the [Joint Committee on Administrative Rules] meeting then and I think it may not be clear until January, well after the date that all firearms are to be registered in this state,” Halbrook told The Center Square.

If the registration is not blocked, law-abiding gun owners could be turned into criminals overnight, Halbrook said.

“I think at a minimum, this date has to be paused or held off for sometime into existence until we get … some kind of clarity on where this needs to go,” Halbrook said.

The law was challenged on Second Amendment grounds earlier this year where Southern District of Illinois Judge Stephen McGlynn issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from being enforced. The state appealed to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal and secured a stay on McGlynn’s injunction. The majority of the three-judge panel appeals court vacated McGlynn’s injunction earlier this month and said the state has a likelihood of advancing on the merits.

Despite plaintiffs asking the entire panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review the Second Amendment challenge against the law, Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois and other plaintiffs were back in the Southern District of Illinois federal court Tuesday challenging the registration component. FFL of Illinois amended their complaint challenging the registration emergency rules. The state has a Dec. 1 deadline to respond to that amended complaint.

“There are a lot of moving parts in this litigation with deadlines that are looming,” McGlynn said Tuesday. “What’s in front of the Seventh Circuit now is a gun ban case. This is a gun registration case. Two different things with different tests, different approaches that could apply.”

McGlynn gave litigants a Dec. 12 date for oral arguments in the case. A ruling on the case is expected “quickly” after oral arguments, he said.

“Oral arguments are important. These are very important matters and I want to get it right,” McGlynn said.

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