The Illinois Supreme Court has again denied a request from a Republican lawmaker seeking to repeal the state’s assault weapons ban.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the ban on the sale, possession and manufacture of a long list of firearms, high-capacity magazines and certain accessories in January 2023. State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, quickly challenged it on state constitutional grounds along with local gun owners and a gun shop owner.
In August, the state Supreme Court ruled against Caulkins in a 4-3 decision. Caulkins had argued that because certain individuals can still own banned weapons legally if they get a special endorsement on their firearm owners identification card while others cannot, the law constitutes “special legislation.”
Democratic Justice Mary K. O’Brien joined the court’s two Republicans in dissenting. She wrote that she believed the majority should have viewed it as special legislation because a law written more generally would have accomplished the same goal without treating different classes differently.
Last month, Caulkins appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He argued that because O’Brien and Democratic Justice Elizabeth Rochford, who wrote the majority opinion, had received donations from campaign funds tied to the Democratic leaders named as defendants in the case, he was not given a fair hearing. The court declined to hear his appeal.
On Jan. 22, Caulkins petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to vacate its August judgment based on the same argument. The state Supreme Court denied that request Monday.
It does not mark the end of the legal challenges for the assault weapons ban.
While the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court both declined to block enforcement of the law temporarily, a gun rights group has said it will appeal to the full U.S. high court to challenge the law’s legality on federal constitutional grounds.
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