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State lawmakers challenging Illinois’ gun ban on procedural grounds as well as equal protection

Caulkins and others argue passage of the state’s gun ban violated the single-subject rule, didn’t properly have three readings and didn’t give the public due process considerations.

Published: February 6, 2023 4:30pm

Updated: February 7, 2023 6:21am

(The Center Square) -

While state-level courts have sided with the equal protections argument in challenges to Illinois’ gun ban, there are other issues some hope get addressed soon.

The main issue courts have been citing for issuing temporary restraining orders against the state’s gun and magazine ban have dealt with equal protections. The argument is that the state cannot give one class of individuals, like current or retired police officers, certain rights while taking those same rights away from others.

Illinois’ new ban on more than 170 types of semiautomatic handguns and rifles and magazines of certain capacities doesn’t impact several categories of individuals, like retired and active police and others in the law enforcement and security sectors.

There are other issues state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, is hoping to get addressed in his litigation, and that’s how legislation at the Illinois statehouse seems to circumvent procedural rules.

Caulkins and others argue passage of the state’s gun ban violated the single-subject rule, didn’t properly have three readings and didn’t give the public due process considerations. Courts have either said those arguments don’t have merit, or do have merit but are not being considered at the moment.

“Nobody's had the guts to hear that. This is a problem,” Caulkins said. “We have the constitution, this is the process we should be going through. It gets violated, not just in this case, but in the SAFE-T Act and the budget. “It goes on and on and on.”

Caulkins said the courts have to address this at some point so the public gets an entire airing of legislation with three public readings, for example.

“This is how it’s supposed to be done,” Caulkins said. “But because of the tyranny of the majority, they just in the dead of night will lay a bill on the desk and then an hour later we have to vote on it and the people of Illinois get no say.”

Caulkins is awaiting a Macon County judge ruling on a temporary restraining order against the state’s gun ban. A TRO is expected after an appellate court upheld a TRO out of Effingham County on equal protections grounds.

Attorney Thomas DeVore is also arguing procedural issues in several cases he’s brought, including that Effingham County case. DeVore has filed for subpoenas to get communications from legislative leaders and the governor to further put on the record the process of how the law came together in the final hours of the lame-duck session that ended last month.

There are other arguments pending in federal court challenges of Illinois’ gun ban. Those include arguments the ban violates citizens' Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate yourself by having to register what lawmakers defined as banned “assault weapons.”

In the federal case Harrel et al v. Raoul et al brought in part by the Illinois State Rifle Association, a judge issued an order granting a motion for the Illinois State Police as defendants to extend the deadline for a response to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. That deadline is now due before March 1.

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