The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the state’s ban on the sale or possession of certain semiautomatic weapons commonly used in mass shootings. In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that the Protect Our Communities Act does not violate the federal Constitution’s equal protection clause or the state constitution’s prohibition on special legislation.
The court also determined that state Rep. Dan Caulkins and fellow gun owners who brought the lawsuit had waived their claims that the law infringes on the Second Amendment, making it ineligible for consideration by the Supreme Court.
However, Second Amendment challenges are still ongoing in federal lawsuits filed in southern Illinois.
The law targets specific brands and types of rifles, handguns, attachments, and rapid-firing devices. Rifles are limited to a maximum of 10 rounds, while handguns are limited to 15 rounds. The widely-owned AR-15 rifle is among the firearms affected by the ban.
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the law after a mass shooting in 2022, which fueled debates on gun control. Critics, including gun-rights advocates and some law enforcement officers, challenged the law, arguing it violates Second Amendment rights and equal protection guarantees. They also claimed that the ban had been selectively applied.
Pritzker expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision, stating that the law contributes to the safety of Illinoisans. The ruling is expected to have implications on ongoing federal lawsuits challenging the ban.
While the legal battle continues, the controversy surrounding gun control remains an important issue in the state and the nation.