Effingham County Judge Issues TRO on Assault Weapons Ban

By Benjamin Cox on January 20, 2023 at 5:20pm

An Effingham County judge has placed a temporary restraining order on Illinois’ recently passed assault weapons ban.

On Tuesday, former Republican Attorney General candidate Thomas DeVore sued in Effingham County arguing the ban was unconstitutional. During an emergency hearing Wednesday, DeVore argued, among other things, that the law violates equal protections by exempting law enforcement officers from the new ban.

Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison granted the TRO for the 860-plus individuals who were named as party in the lawsuit. The case advances pending an expected appeal by the governor and legislative leaders.

There are other pending lawsuits filed against the assault weapons ban including a federal suit filed by the Illinois State Rifle Association. No hearings have been scheduled in the other cases, according to the Center Square.

In a statement after the ruling, Governor J.B. Pritzker says the decision wasn’t surprising but was still disappointing. Pritzker says the plaintiffs’ goal is ideology over public safety and says he still believes that the constitutionality of the law will pass muster with the state’s court system.

Capitol Fax reports that Judge Morrison may have a conflict of interest in the case, as he was recently elected to the position in Effingham County. He previously was State’s Attorney in Fayette County and was one of several state’s attorneys around the state who filed a lawsuit against the SAFE-T Act, a lawsuit he is still a party to from his former capacity. Morrison also was one of several state’s attorneys in southern Illinois who pushed back against enforcement of Covid-19 mitigations two years ago, according to a post on Thomas DeVore’s campaign website.

A preliminary injunction hearing is set in the Effingham County case for 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 1st.