The Supreme Court of Illinois has upheld the state's ban on the sale and possession of semiautomatic-type weapons, the Associated Press reports.
The 4-3 decision was published on Friday, Aug. 11.
The law at issue in the case is the Protect Our Communities Act, also known as House Bill 5471.
Earlier this year, the bill made it through the Illinois House of Representatives by a vote of 68 to 41. Then, after it made it through Illinois's Senate by a margin of 34 to 20, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed it into law.
The Blaze reports on the details of H.B. 5471.
Per the outlet:
The "Protect Our Communities Act" prohibited the "manufacture, possession, delivery, sale, and purchase of assault weapons, .50 caliber rifles, and .50 caliber cartridges." It defined so-called assault weapons as semiautomatic rifles, banning dozens of specific brands and types of firearms. The legislation limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds for rifles and 15 for handguns.
After it was signed into law, the bill was subsequently challenged in court by gun owners and state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R).
The challengers, among other things, argued that the law violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause by allowing those already in possession of the banned firearms to keep them.
The Illinois Supreme Court, however, has now ruled against the challengers.
Justice Elizabeth Rochford, in the decision, explained why the court does not believe there is an equal protection clause violation here.
The equal protection clause guarantees that similarly situated individuals will be treated in a similar manner, unless the government can demonstrate an appropriate reason to treat those individuals differently. The equal protection clause does not forbid the Legislature from drawing distinctions in legislation among different categories of people as long as the Legislature does not draw those distinctions based on criteria wholly unrelated to the legislation's purpose.
It is expected that this ruling will be challenged.
In the meantime, Pritzker is celebrating the court's ruling. He said:
I am pleased that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Protect Illinois Commmunities Act. 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.
Even if Friday's decision goes on to be upheld, the law is not out of the woods just yet. It is facing a Second Amendment challenge in the federal courts.