A ban on semiautomatic weapons was upheld Friday in the Illinois Supreme Court, as the state attempts to eliminate the types of guns frequently used in mass shootings across the country.
The legislation, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act, specifically bans the sale or possession of various models and types of rifles and handguns, including AR-15 rifles, .50-caliber guns, attachments, and devices enabling rapid firing.
In a 4-3 decision, the court determined that the ban does not infringe on equal protection laws on the state or federal level, although several federal lawsuits have already been filed in response, arguing for the Second Amendment.
“This is a commonsense gun reform law to keep mass-killing machines off of our streets and out of our schools, malls, parks, and places of worship,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, in a statement released Friday.
“This decision is a win for advocates, survivors, and families alike because it preserves this nation-leading legislation to combat gun violence and save countless lives,” he added.
The ruling also declared that plaintiffs, including Republican State Rep. Dan Caulkins and like-minded gun owners from Macon County, had previously waived their claims to raise Second Amendment arguments, although Caulkins’ attorney denies this.
Back in January, when the legislation was first passed, the NRA filed a lawsuit alleging the ban to be a violation of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
The Illinois law “takes the radical step of banning nearly every modern semiautomatic rifle — the single-most popular type of rifle in the country, possessed by Americans in the tens of millions,” the court documents said.
With the decision Friday to uphold the law, Illinois now becomes the 10th state to pass restrictions on semiautomatic firearms, following an April ruling in Washington State, which passed a similar ban.
In Illinois, there are some exceptions. Citizens are allowed to retain possession of the exempt weapons if they purchased them before the law became effective on Jan. 10, but must register them with state police.
Additionally, “trained professionals,” including police officers, active-duty military, qualified security guards and corrections officials may carry semiautomatic firearms.
With News Wire Services