Illinois Supreme Court Endorses State’s Ban On Semiautomatic Guns

An instructor teaches handling of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles with a US flag in the background during a shooting course at Boondocks Firearms Academy in Jackson, Mississippi on September 26, 2020. - From the countryside to the cities, Americans are engaged in a frenzy of gun-buying fueled by the pandemic, protests and politics. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
2:24 PM – Friday, August 11, 2023

The Illinois Supreme Court has supported the state’s ban on the sale or possession of semi-automatic weapons.


On Friday, the state’s Supreme Court concluded that the Protect Our Communities Act did not violate the state constitution on special legislation nor the federal constitution’s guarantee of equal protection in a 4-3 decision.

Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) signed the act on January 10th in response to the massacre at Highland Park that took seven lives and injured 30 others during the Fourth of July parade in 2022. 

Those in favor of the law have labeled the guns as “assault weapons,” but gun shop owners have argued that true assault weapons, for example those used by the United States military, are already illegal. 

Many county authorities across Illinois have claimed that they will not be abiding by the ban as it goes against the 2nd, 5th, and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. 

Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Ill.) filed the lawsuit, asking the court for summary judgment on the grounds that the Illinois Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause is violated by the ban on assault rifles. 

In a statement released by Pritzker, it was announced that the state had sided with the ban.

“I am pleased that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Protect Illinois Communities Act,” Pritzker said. “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. 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. 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.”

Senator Andrew Chesney (R-Ill.) issued his own statement regarding the ruling. 

“I am disappointed, yet not surprised, that the highly politicized Illinois Supreme Court has chosen to act yet again as a rubber stamp for the Illinois Democratic Party,” he said. “As long as Democrat lawmakers continue to go after law-abiding citizens rather than the criminals who abuse their gun rights, crime in all forms will continue to rise.”  

Due to the ban being upheld, more than 170 semi-automatic firearms are prohibited from being sold or owned. The law also requires that current owners of these weapons register with the state police by January 1, 2024.

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