Don’t Expect a Last Minute Rush to Comply With the Illinois ‘Assault Weapons’ Registration Madate

by Tommy Grant

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By Rob Morse

Judges are political creatures. They know who elected them or who appointed them. They know what they need to do to get promoted. In some cases, judges have overturned unjust laws and restrained the tyranny of the majority, but that doesn’t work all the time.

Abusive politicians have imposed unjust laws and those laws have been upheld by the courts. Honest citizens have often imposed their own justice when the courts refuse to defend our rights. We are seeing that situation play out again with gun owners in Illinois.

Illinois politics are dominated by the city of Chicago. Democrats have controlled the Illinois state senate and general assembly for over two decades. Democrat legislators recently required honest gun owners to register their semi-automatic long guns, almost all of which are now considered “assault weapons.”

The deadline for compliance is January 1, 2024. Registration opened on the first of October, so more than a third or the registration period has passed. So far, though, only 4-out-of-1000 — about 3,400 — of the affected gun owners have registered their rifles and shotguns.

Illinois has a lot of gun-control laws on the books already. Citizens there need to obtain a state license before they can even buy a gun. The required Firearms Owners Identification Card requires a national and local background check. Illinois gun owners now have to pass a background check before they could purchase ammunition. Individuals from outside the state can’t purchase a firearm in Illinois without first obtaining a license and then passing a background check. Historically, obtaining that Firearms Owners Identification card took months or years.

Perhaps gun owners in Illinois aren’t aware of the new registration requirement. Perhaps gun owners know about the new law but don’t know that their particular firearms are affected. Perhaps they’ll all register at the last minute and comply with the law. And perhaps pigs sprout wings and fly with the sparrows and the doves.

That isn’t what we’ve seen in other states and municipalities that have mandated registration. San Jose, California required that gun owners turn in all of their regulated magazines. Connecticut required registration of so-called “assault weapons.” The state of New Jersey outlawed a type of brace that let injured individuals shoot a pistol even if they’re disabled.

Those gun-bans were ignored, and not just a little bit. In some cases no one complied. In most cases, only a tiny fraction complied so disobedience was almost total. In some cases, even the vast majority of law enforcement officers ignored the registration laws.

These gun registrations and gun bans have had a mixed history in court. There are a number of districts that consistently ignore the rulings of the US Supreme Court when it comes to the right to bear arms. Recently, we’ve seen cases where the Supreme Court ruled that lower courts made a mistake in a Second Amendment case. Some of the lower courts then effectively refused to change their verdict. Those judges in inferior courts effectively said, “Catch me if you can,” to higher courts. Those judges are a law unto themselves.

As I said, judges respond to the politics of their donors and the politicians who appoint them. These judges are willing to bend the law to advance their own careers or advance their personal agendas. Honest citizens have, so far, responded with remarkable restraint. So far, where judges have abused the law and denied our rights, we’ve seen ordinary citizens simply ignore the abusive laws.

Honest citizens vastly outnumber the government officials who like to tell them what they can and cannot do. We tend to simply ignored the abusive laws that judges refuse to overturn.

We can argue if that undermines the rule of law, but there are other options. We have seen courts appoint special masters to supervise an administrative government body that refused to obey the law. We saw that happen with school administrators who refused to allow black children in public schools. We saw that again with police departments that systematically abused minority citizens.

We’ve yet to see direct judicial intervention with states and localities that violate our right of armbed self-defense. Even though we don’t see it covered in the corporate media, this isn’t a marginal legal issue. Armed defense is a fundamental human right that literally saves tens-of-thousands of lives a year. Despite decades of abuse, I doubt the current court has the courage to say ‘enough is enough’ and appoint special masters this time.

We’ve ignored unjust laws before and I have no doubt we’ll continue to do it in the future. I expect history to repeat itself in Illinois. Honest citizens in the Land o’ Lincoln will give the one-finger-salute to blue state legislators that have heaped new gun control laws on honest gun owners.

As much as I’m a law-and-order kind of guy, I’m just fine with that. We don’t always get the choices we want. Often our choices come down to selecting the lesser of two injustices. We will know by the end of the year, but don’t expect a last minute rush to comply as Governor Pritzker says he expects. And I don’t expect that either the state legislators nor the courts will learn their lesson.


This article originally appeared at Slow Facts Blog and is reprinted here with permission. 

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