Latest Attempt to Stop Illinois AWB Falls Short

by Tommy Grant

A last-ditch attempt to stave off Illinois’ sweeping ban on so-called “assault weapons” and gun parts was recently shot down in court, leaving state firearms owners under the gun as of Jan. 1. Back in May 2023, U.S. District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois issued a temporary injunction on the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA), stating it almost certainly violates the Second Amendment.

“As Americans, we have every reason to celebrate our rights and freedoms, especially on Independence Day,” Judge McGlynn wrote in the ruling. “Can the senseless crimes of a relative few be so despicable to justify the infringement of the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals in hopes that such crimes will then abate or, at least, not be as horrific?

“More specifically, can PICA be harmonized with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and with Bruen? That is the issue before this Court. The simple answer at this stage in the proceedings is ‘likely no.’”

Since that time, Judge McGlynn’s injunction was overruled by a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Later, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to step in and stop the law from taking effect.  Most recently, plaintiffs went back to Judge McGlynn trying to get an emergency injunction prior to the law taking effect. However, this time the judge chose to see things differently, not only ruling that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing but that the law is not unconstitutionally vague, as plaintiffs had argued.


“The government is correct that, absent a clear indication that the advocacy organizations have standing to sue on behalf of their members, the FFL plaintiffs cannot bring suit on behalf of hypothetical, unnamed Illinois citizens who allegedly do not have adequate notice of the registration requirements,” the Dec. 22 ruling stated.

Consequently, the court denied the request for the preliminary injunction and also granted the state’s motion to dismiss the “vagueness” argument.

“… the Emergency Rules implementing the PICA registration requirement are not unconstitutionally vague,” the ruling further stated. “Rather, they are clear in what they prohibit, serious issues with the Second Amendment aside. Additionally, concerns about individual parts are clearly ‘edge questions’ in a statute focused on defined ‘assault weapons’ and do not interfere with the statute’s core meaning.”

Judge McGlynn concluded: “The deadline for registration is steeply upon us. Enjoining only the registration requirement for attachments and parts but not firearms would likely lead to more confusion than clarity. It may also create further delays in this litigation when the constitutional rights of the citizens demand an expeditious resolution on the merits.”

In the end, Illinois gun owners are stuck with the horrific law until some future court hopefully chooses to overturn it and call it exactly what it is—grossly unconstitutional. 

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About the Author

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years. 

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