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Latest gun ban lawsuit seeks court to declare plaintiff a peace officer

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(The Center Square) – A new challenge against Illinois’ gun and magazine ban seeks to have a state district court declare a plaintiff a peace officer and exempt from the state’s prohibition.

Last year, Illinois banned the sale and possession of more than 170 semi-automatic firearms, magazines over certain capacities, and various attachments.

The law impacts everyone except several categories of individuals like peace officers, qualified law enforcement and retired law enforcement, wardens and keepers of prisons and jails, members of the armed services, employees of armed security services and private security contractors.

Lawsuits attempting to block the law filed in state and federal court on Second Amendment grounds have not been successful. Other challenges included claims the law violates equal protections by carving out certain individuals who still have the ability to buy certain firearms that others can’t.

Attorney Thomas DeVore, who had a series of cases last year vacated after the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the state in a separate challenge, said he’s filing a new lawsuit against the state’s gun ban.

The brief for the Effingham County Court from Accuracy Firearms and Steve Holste is against the Illinois State Police director and the Illinois Attorney General. DeVore asked for the court to declare Holste is a peace officer and therefore exempt from prohibitions under Illinois’ gun and magazine ban.

Holste, who has a Firearm Owners ID card and a Concealed Carry License, is not a peace officer, the lawsuit conceded. Regardless, he wants to purchase certain firearms from Accuracy Firearms but he is “under risk and threat of prosecution for a crime by Defendants,” the case said, and that Accuracy Firearms “desires” to sell to Holste certain weapons, “large capacity magazines, and assault weapons attachments.”

“At present there is uncertainty in the interpretation of the [Assault Weapons Ban] wherein Plaintiffs seek clarity before consummating their transaction … Without such clarity, the Plaintiffs are subject to civil and criminal prosecution,” the lawsuit said.

DeVore’s case said Illinois state law states “any person may arrest another when he has reasonable grounds to believe that an offense other than an ordinance violation is being committed” and that “Holste has been … conferred the power to make arrests for offense just as any peace officer employed by a law enforcement agency.”

The lawsuit further said previous cases have concluded that a “private citizens arrest … easily satisfies the standard of a peace officer employed by a law enforcement agency” and that “a private citizen has virtually the same authority to make an arrest as does a police officer.”

For those reasons, DeVore’s case said Holste has been “statutorily granted the authority to make an arrest similar to those of a peace officer” and is “by definition a peace officer pursuant” to the law.

“For this Court to find otherwise would run counter to each and every decision cited herein … which have held a peace officer employed by a law enforcement agency but acting outside his/her jurisdiction still held the power to arrest as does any ordinary private citizen,” the case said.

Last week, DeVore’s attempts to reinstate his equal protection cases were denied by an Effingham County judge. He’s appealing that case to the state appeals court.

Separate federal challenges against the state’s gun ban continue in the Southern District of Illinois with a status hearing set for Feb. 2.

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