SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Supreme Court said Thursday that it expects to release its opinion on the state’s semi-automatic gun ban on Friday morning.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act on January 10th in response to the shooting deaths of seven at the Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, where 30 were also injured.
The law bans the sale or possession of more than 170 semi-automatic guns and requires current owners of the weapons to register with the state police by January 1st, 2024.
Many county sheriffs across the state have said they will not enforce the ban, as it conflicts with the 2nd, 5th, and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which grants citizens the right to bear arms, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to equal protection under the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency request from people challenging the law, which bans the so-called assault weapons. The law’s opponents had asked the court to put the law on hold while a court challenge continues. The court did not comment and no justice publicly dissented.
Proponents of the law have labeled the guns as “assault weapons,” but gun shop owners have argued that true assault weapons – those used by the U.S. military – are already illegal. They are fully automatic machine guns like the M16 and the AK47, which were banned by the federal government in 1986.
“I’m hopeful, but no idea how they’ll resolve it,” Pritzker said Thursday. “It does matter what happens at the state level in state court, but ultimately the [U.S.] Supreme Court likely will be ruling on this and so whatever happens there will ultimately, I hate to use the word, trump whatever happens in our state courts.”
A separate, federal challenge to the gun ban law is still pending.