(The Center Square) – While Illinois’ gun ban and registry continues to face legal challenges, the governor continues pushing for a national ban on certain semi-automatic weapons.
Reacting to the mass shooting reported out of Maine, where a suspect killed 18 people and injured scores of others in different locations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker Friday said Illinois is doing what it can do by banning certain types of semi-automatic firearms.
“But it is very hard if we don’t have a federal law that bans those kinds of weapons,” Pritzker said.
But Illinois’ ban is being challenged on several fronts with cases still pending. One plaintiffs’ group is asking a federal judge to enjoin the state’s gun registry while a challenge to the entire Illinois law is pending in the appeals court. The state has until Nov. 6 to reply to that motion in the Southern District of Illinois federal court brought by the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois.
State Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, said the law is unconstitutional.
“I think ultimately the courts will rule that, so why the governor, why the attorney general, why their legislative allies are putting law-abiding Illinois gun owners through this circus is just frustrating to me,” Plummer told The Center Square.
The Illinois General Assembly left the first week of veto session without addressing Plummer’s bill to hold harmless those who purchased firearms during a six-day window when the state was prevented from enforcing the gun ban.
The state was enjoined by a federal judge in late April. An appeals court stayed that, with the case still pending. The state has said firearms purchased during that time cannot be legally registered by the Jan. 1 deadline.
Before leaving Springfield Thursday, Plummer said his measure would, if the law is upheld by the courts, allow those who purchased firearms during the injunction to register.
“It shouldn’t matter where you stand on the Second Amendment issue, this is just common sense legislation,” Plummer said. “Unfortunately right now we’re not getting any traction with the other side, but there’s still time to go before Jan. 1.”
Legislators return Nov. 7 for the last three scheduled session days this calendar year.
Plummer said with the measure still challenged in the courts, he’s not surprised by the low registration numbers in the first month the registration window has been open.
“There shouldn’t be a registry. This legislation is unconstitutional. The courts will eventually rule that. The governor and the attorney general need to quit pushing such extreme stuff. They need to fall into line,” Plummer said.
Less than one-tenth of 1% of Illinois Firearm Owners ID card holders have registered banned firearms, attachments and ammunition with Illinois State Police. The deadline to register or face criminal penalties is Jan. 1.
“ISP has updated the ISP Firearms Service Bureau webpage so when people access their account on the FOID portal, they see an automatic pop-up with information about [the Protect Illinois Communities Act],” a spokesperson from ISP said when asked if the agency plans to send mail to FOID holders about the registry requirement. “We’ve issued news releases about the emergency rule for PICA, as well as the opening of the online disclosure. We have posted routinely on social media about the need to disclose. Additionally, we have created a video tutorial that walks people through the disclosure process, and held a video demonstration with many FFLs who can inform their clients. We encourage people who do not use computers to visit one of the FOID Kiosks across the state.”