State: ‘Government has no authority’ to impose penalties for not registering banned guns

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(The Center Square) – The state of Illinois says “government has no authority” to impose criminal penalties for those not registering banned firearms.

Illinois State Police have updated the gun ban registration numbers to include those who registered after the Jan. 1 deadline. On top of the 29,357 individuals who registered before the deadline, 5,867 have registered since. The total of those registering before and after the deadline of 35,224 is 1.46% of the state’s more than 2.4 million Firearm Owners ID card holders.

Also updated is a list of how many individuals registered banned items per county. Cook County had the highest numbers of those registering at 6,364. Pope County had the fewest at five.

Lawsuits against the gun ban and registry continue in state and federal court.

In their response to a Fifth Amendment challenge to the state’s gun ban and registry in the Southern District of Illinois federal court, attorneys for the state say the right against self-incrimination isn’t violated by the registry.

The state’s lawyers argue the registration is a “voluntary benefit that exempts owners of certain” firearms from “otherwise applicable criminal penalties.” They also argue the “government has no authority to impose” penalties on those that don’t register and the idea someone would be prosecuted for what they file is “not real.”

“[T]he fanciful chain of events they have dreamed up has no serious chance of coming to fruition,” the filing said.

The filing is part of the ongoing litigation that plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas Maag predicts will get to the merits of the issues in the months ahead.

“It was clear from what [Judge Stephen McGlynn] said that he said that the lawyers should not plan on missing any breaks over the summer,” Maag told The Center Square. “That the judge wants to have a trial on the merits before June.”

Separately in state court last week, an Effingham County judge denied attorney Thomas DeVore’s attempt to reinstate his gun ban challenges that were vacated last year after the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the state in the case brought by state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur.

DeVore said he’s taken the case to the appellate court.

“The judge just kicked the can down the road, he didn’t stop this case,” DeVore told The Center Square. “And the Illinois Supreme Court in their ruling in Caulkins did one good thing, is they gave me a roadmap on how I can win the arguments on equal protection.”

DeVore contends the state saying exempt classes of people, like active duty and retired police, security and prison guards, have specialized training is a “legal fiction.”

“If you break them down, you will find that almost none of them have a duty to protect the public order and the training,” he said.

All preliminary attempts in state and federal court at blocking the law from being implemented have not resulted in the law being overturned. It’s expected the issue will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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