Inside the Macon County courtroom Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, during a hearing challenging Illinois' gun and magazine ban

Inside the Macon County courtroom Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, during a hearing challenging Illinois' gun and magazine ban

(The Center Square) – About 2,100 more Illinois citizens are now safe from the state enforcing Illinois’ gun ban against them after a third temporary restraining order was issued Wednesday.

Macon County Judge Rodney Forbes heard the case in Decatur Friday brought by state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, Decatur Jewelry & Antiques and about 2,100 other plaintiffs in the group “Law-Abiding Gun Owners of Macon County.”

From the capitol in Springfield Wednesday, Caulkins celebrated the TRO and said it’s another step in a continued legal fight.

“This is a temporary restraining order,” Caulkins told The Center Square. “We have to go through the process to get a permanent order. This is the first step. It is a big step. We look forward to our day in court which we hope will be very soon.”

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, Wednesday at the Illinois State Capitol 

A status hearing in the case is set for March 20 in Macon County.

This marks the third limited order issued against the gun and magazine ban in state court.

On Jan. 10, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted the ban on more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines of more than 10 rounds for rifles and more than 15 rounds for handguns. The law also requires firearms already in possession that fit under the definition of “assault weapons” to be registered with Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024.

Sheriffs across the state have said they won't enforce the law, saying it is unconstitutional. 

In Effingham County last month, a judge issued a temporary restraining order on several procedural grounds and allegations the law violates equal protections. The state appealed and an appellate court upheld the TRO on equal protections for the 866 plaintiffs there.

A White County judge then issued another TRO on equal protection grounds for 1,690 plaintiffs there.

The Macon County case included the charge that the measure is “special legislation,” which is a measure that targets an individual or a specific group for treatment that doesn't impact other groups. The judge said special legislation is treated the same as equal protections.

“The right to purchase, the right to exchange, sell, the right to hold magazines, certain members of society, be it police, retired police, what not, were granted those rights and the rest of us were denied,” Caulkins said.

The docket entry for the Macon County TRO said a proposed order from the plaintiffs was unopposed by the state defendants.

“It’s a great day. We’re very pleased,” Caulkins said. “We look forward to continuing the legal battle for every [Firearm Owner ID card] holder in Illinois until we can get the FOID card thrown out. That’s our next goal.”

The Illinois Attorney General's Office has already indicated they will request a review by the Illinois Supreme Court of previous restraining orders, but didn’t immediately respond for comment Wednesday.

There are also several pending lawsuits filed in federal court.

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.