US Supreme Court Asked to Rule on Illinois Semiautomatic Weapons Ban

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
November 19, 2023Judiciary
US Supreme Court Asked to Rule on Illinois Semiautomatic Weapons Ban
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for their official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on Oct. 7, 2022. (Seated from left) Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan, (Standing behind from left) Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

An Illinois state lawmaker has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the state’s ban on certain semi-automatic weapons.

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, a Republican, told local media outlets that he is petitioning the high court because he believes the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ban is tainted. He argued that Justices Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien should have recused themselves from the case earlier this year, saying that both judges received donations from the Gun Violence Prevention PAC, which has called for “banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.”

Both Justice Rochford and O’Brien received “disproportionate campaign contributions, and both made a commitment to support the legislative policy of banning assault weapons,” Mr. Caulkins told ABC20-TV, adding that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, and other Democrats have also given donations to those justices.

“Given the size of the campaign contributions and who gave the contributions, there not only is a question of fairness and impartiality, there also is a question of the independence of the Justices which calls into question the validity of the state court decision,” he said.

His filing with the top U.S. court, he said, is about the “thousands of plaintiffs who joined my lawsuit and were denied a fair proceeding at the Illinois State Supreme Court,” adding that the court “does not have an objective standard for recusals.”

“The Court relies on individual justices to determine if there is a conflict. The end result is an unfair process that leads to biased outcomes,” the lawmaker added. “We are asking the U.S. Supreme to review this case based on the lack of fairness as well as the merits of our arguments against the weapons ban law.”

The petition argues, in part, that the Illinois Supreme Court’s 4-3 August ruling upholding the law banning a range of semi-automatic weapons and magazines violated due process under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. It also asks for a review of the case based on the 2nd Amendment, the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and the state Constitution.

“There exists no rational basis to criminalize one person indistinguishable in any manner based on conduct from another immunized from the criminal liability or to speculate that the prohibited present a greater risk for mass shootings than the grandfathered based on the date an assault weapon was acquired,” the lawmaker’s petition to the Supreme Court said.

“The grandfathered who are immunized from criminal liability for possession have no greater training than the prohibited merely because the grandfathered already possess an assault weapon,” his petition said, adding that if the “grandfathered are presumed to be safe (lawful) to possess assault weapons by mere possession, then the prohibited would satisfy the same safety presumption if allowed to acquire and possess.”

The “time of acquisition” of a firearm also “bears no connection to safety or danger,” it added. “The resulting arbitrary classification on the face of the Assault Weapons Partial Ban fails all levels of scrutiny test and should be invalidated on this additional basis.”

The law prohibits the possession, manufacture, or sale of those weapons and magazines, banning a large number of different rifles and handguns. Those who owned such guns and accessories when the law went into effect were required to register them with the Illinois State Police.

A spokesman for Mr. Pritzker’s office told Newsweek that the law, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act, is a “commonsense law” and has “already been upheld before both state and federal courts, but it’s not surprising that Rep. Caulkins and the gun lobby continue to put their extreme ideology over the safety of Illinoisans.”

While it’s unclear whether the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case, the high court has recently shown interest in taking up gun-related cases. In 2022, the top court issued a 6-3 ruling against a New York state law establishing that a person has the right to carry a pistol in public under the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.

Meanwhile, the court will rule on whether people who are under domestic violence protection orders should lose access to their firearms. It will also issue a ruling on whether a former superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services violated the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) rights after her office issued guidance memos to banks and insurance companies encouraging them to monitor risks associated with NRA-endorsed insurance products after a shooting in Parkland, Florida, several years ago.

From The Epoch Times

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