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White County issues temporary restraining order against Illinois’ gun ban

Order covers 1,690 plaintiffs, adding to Effingham County order upheld by appellate court

The Center Square

Another temporary restraining order is on the books against Illinois’ gun ban.

A White County judge issued a ruling Thursday [Feb. 2, 2023] temporarily prohibiting the state from enforcing the ban on certain semi-automatic weapons and magazine capacities against 1,690 plaintiffs in the case. Among those named in the case brought by attorney Thomas DeVore are former state Sen. Darren Bailey, who ran for governor against incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker last year, and state Reps. Adam Niemerg  (R-Dieterich) and Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City).

The White County TRO comes just days after the Illinois 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a TRO issued by Effingham County on Jan. 20. The appellate court’s split decision dismissed the counts alleging procedural violations of bills having three-readings, being on a single subject and having due process with public hearings, but upheld the charge the law violated the plaintiffs’ equal protections.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is asking the Illinois Supreme Court for an expedited schedule to review the Effingham County TRO. Raoul’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday’s White County decision. 

White County Circuit Judge T. Scott Webb agreed the gun ban provision exempting employees in law enforcement and others security industries from having to comply violated equal protection rights.

“The Defense argues that the Act was passed to curtail mass shootings, which have become a scourge on our nation. However, there is no legislative history to the Act that may shed light on that issue,” Webb said. “Neither have any studies been submitted or even referenced that demonstrate a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would alleviate mass shootings.”

The judge continued that the court was left only to speculate why there were certain exemptions “while not exempting others, who seem to possess similar firearms training, would further deter mass shootings,” Webb wrote. “To this end, this Court finds that the equities balance in favor of the Plaintiffs.”

“This is another win for the Constitution and for honest firearm owners in the State of Illinois,” state Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dietrich) said in a statement. “We are chipping away at this extreme law with each case working its way through our court system. It will take time, but this law will be overturned because it is a clear violation of our Constitutional rights.”

A separate state-level case against Illinois’ gun ban in Macon County has a hearing set for Friday afternoon. There are also several pending federal lawsuits against the law. 

Associate Editor Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.

The below images are copies of the 11-page White County temporary restraining order against the Protect Illinois Communities Act:

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