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In a narrow 4-3 ruling, the court said that Illinois could ban the sale of certain handguns, rifles like AR-15s, magazines for long guns holding more than 10 rounds, and magazines for handguns holding more than 15 rounds.
In her majority decision, Democratic Judge Elizabeth Rochford said that the plaintiffs were trying to “piggyback a second amendment claim” onto an equal protection argument, saying that an argument that the law violates Second Amendment could not be made due to previous line of arguing.
Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), who signed the ban into law, praised the court’s decision. “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,” Pritzker said. “Illinoisans deserve to feel safe in every corner of our state — whether they are attending a Fourth of July Parade or heading to work — and that’s precisely what the Protect Illinois Communities Act accomplishes,” he said in a statement.
Pritzker was referencing a shooting in Highland Park on July 4, 2022 that left seven dead and dozens injured.
In her dissent, Judge Lisa Holder White pointed to the rights of citizens to own guns for protection, referencing the founding of the U.S.
“This great nation was founded on the premise that the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms is essential to what it means to be a free people. The right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms and to arm themselves to protect their families, their homes, and themselves must not be infringed,” she wrote. “Belief in the previously mentioned precepts in no way diminishes the fact that all law-abiding citizens desire safe communities where schools, workplaces, houses of worship, and public gatherings are free from gun violence.”
She added that the constitutional “procedural requirements” were not met when the law was passed so it should be struck down.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously declined to hear a challenge to the case, saying that it would wait for an appeals court ruling on the decision.