Maxon Shooters Blog

IL Assault Weapons Ban Rules Published - What's Next?

IL Assault Weapons Ban Rules Published - What's Next?

The Illinois State Police yesterday published emergency rules to implement the "Assault Weapons Ban."  Of particular urgency and concern is the registry portion of the Act.  The rules do nothing to address some obvious issues and instead introduce more.

Our advice at this time is to do nothing. Multiple groups are litigating against this Act, and this set of rules will spawn more litigation.  Even as the rules are written, no affidavit for the registry is required before the end of the year.

What's in the Rules. 

The Department's press release is here, along with a copy of the rules themselves in Underlined Red

Some Observations:

  1. Magazines are not covered in rules, as expected.  They are in  a different section of the Act.
  2. What is an "Assault Weapon Attachment?"  The rules offer no clarification.
  3. Those choosing to comply with the registration must submit an affidavit to register their banned firearms, ammo (.50 BMG) and "attachments."
  4. There is no accommodation for firearms, ammo, or "attachments" purchased when our Injunction and/or the State Court Temporary Restraining Orders were in effect.
  5. Anyone moving to Illinois after January 10, 2023 has 60 days to file the affidavit and obtain a FOID card.

Our Next Challenges

2, 3,  4, and maybe 5 above present very good targets for a court challenge. Here's how:

(2) creates Vagueness problems: What is an "Assault Weapon Attachment?" What is the Department's definition of "readily convertible?"  It's a big deal, because we're not talking about some dinky town ordinance, but rather potential felony charges.

(3) The affidavit has always presented 5th amendment concerns re: self incrimination.  So the Department of the State Police  added the requirement in the affidavit that the individual "is filing an endorsement affidavit voluntarily." Or, in non-lawyer-speak: we are requiring you to voluntarily waive your 5th amendment rights and protections

(4) Attempts to enforce a law when the State was under court order barring enforcement.  Good luck with that.

(5) It appears the out-of-state resident moving to Illinois may  purchase a banned item immediately prior to moving here.  This different treatment of non-residents may present equal protection problems.

In the event an individual's FOID Card is revoked and he or she has filed an affidavit, that person must transfer the banned item to either:

  1. A qualified buyer: exempt, or out of state
  2. An FFL for sale out of state
  3. Local law enforcement.

If the card is restored, only law enforcement can transfer the item back to the FOID Card holder.  

Lastly, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) will still have to hear these rules.  JCAR is evenly split between Republican and Democrat legislators, and they may have issues with these rules. These rules are not currently on the agenda for the October 17th meeting of JCAR. The cherry on top of this mess.

What we expect:

  1. We continue to await a ruling on our Injunction from the Easterbrook appeals panel in the 7th District Court of Appeals.
  2. If we win that relief, we are back to January 9, although the "Freedom Week" issues remain to be solved.
  3. If we lose, then we will appeal to either the Supreme Court of the United States or the the en-banc (full) 7th Circuit. 
  4. Now that the rules are published, we will be preparing fresh Federal Court challenges in an effort to halt both the registry and the whole ban.
  5. Our best advice now remains: do nothing.  You have until the end of the year to register if that is what you choose to do, and that registry may well be gone or look very different that what the ISP has described in these rules.