A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Friday blocking Illinois' ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines until a lawsuit challenging the law is completed.
Judge Stephen P. McGlynn of the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis ruled the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) likely will be found unconstitutional when the lawsuit goes to trial, and the plaintiffs will be harmed without a preliminary injunction to block its enforcement.
The legislation, signed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Jan. 10, prohibits the manufacture, sale, and possession of more than 190 types of firearms and many types of grips, stocks, and attachments. It also bans the sale and distribution of high-capacity magazines and requires existing owners of semiautomatic rifles to register their firearms with the state.
"There is no question that Plaintiffs are harmed by PICA and will continue to be harmed if this Court denies the motion for preliminary injunction," McGlynn wrote in his 29-page order. "A constitutional right is at stake. Some Plaintiffs cannot purchase their firearm of choice, nor can they exercise their right to self-defense in the manner they choose. They are bound by the State's limitations. Moreover, other Plaintiffs cannot sell their inventory, even to residents of other states that do not ban the 'arms' identified in PICA."
Gun rights groups praised the ruling.
"Governor Pritzker and his anti-gun cabal in the legislature thought they could steamroll the Second Amendment, and this ruling makes clear that they abused their authority and infringed on their citizens' rights," said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, a plaintiff in the case, in a statement on the group's website. "We look forward to continuing this fight."
Illinois passed the law following a mass shooting in 2022 during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead and more than 48 others injured. McGlynn noted the event in his ruling.
"While PICA was purportedly enacted in response to the Highland Park shooting, it does not appear that the legislature considered an individual's right under the Second Amendment nor Supreme Court precedent," he said. "Moreover, PICA did not just regulate the rights of the people to defend themselves; it restricted that right, and in some cases, completely obliterated that right by criminalizing the purchase and the sale of more than 190 'arms.'"
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