Associate Judge Rodney S. Forbes Friday ruled that the Illinois statewide ban on the sale and manufacturing of assault rifles is unconstitutional under the Illinois Constitution. The case is in the Circuit Court of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Macon County.
In Rodney’s two-page final judgment, the court ruled that the ban’s exceptions to the prohibitions of assault rifles and large capacity ammunition feeding devices violate the equal protection clause of article I, section 2 of the Illinois Constitution, and the special legislation clause of article IV, section 13. In addition, the ruling noted that the ban’s provisions are “facially unconstitutional” and “cannot reasonably be construed in a manner that would preserve their validity.”
The plaintiffs argue that the ban violates the equal protection clause because it exempts certain professions in security and law enforcement and that the legislature “arbitrarily chose to exclude them.” Additionally, the special legislation clause mandates that the legislature shall pass “no special or local law when a general law is or can be made applicable.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act into law earlier this year. In addition to the ban on assault weapons, the law prohibits selling and manufacturing assault weapon attachments, .50 caliber cartridges, any .50 caliber rifle, and certain pistols. Shortly after the bill was signed, several lawsuits were filed challenging the ban’s validity in state and federal court. This case involves State Representative Dan Caulkins suing Pritzker.
Pritzker has already appealed to the Supreme Court of Illinois.