The Illinois High Court, with a 4-3 majority, has upheld a ban on assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines. This ban was introduced by Democrats following a deadly mass shooting in the suburb of Highland Park, Chicago, in 2022, where seven people lost their lives and many others were injured.
The court dismissed arguments brought forth by a group of plaintiffs, led by Republican state senator Dan Caulkins, who contended that the ban violated the Illinois Constitution by not applying the law uniformly to all citizens.
Justice Elizabeth Rochford, a Democrat, stated that the constitution’s provisions concerning equal protection and special legislation did not prevent the state’s legislature from treating specific citizens differently, such as by granting exemptions from the law. These exemptions were applicable to individuals who had received firearms training while serving in law enforcement, the military, and private security, as well as to those who already owned the banned firearms prior to the ban’s enactment.
Rochford emphasized that the legislation aimed to strike a balance between public safety and the expertise of trained professionals, while also considering the interests of individuals who were “grandfathered” into the law. This perspective was shared by three other Democratic justices.