Jan. 4 status hearing ordered in 5th Amendment challenge to Illinois’ gun ban


(The Center Square) – With courts denying requests to delay the Jan. 1 deadline for Illinois gun owners to register now banned firearms with the state, lawsuits against the gun ban will continue in the new year.

Last week, Southern District of Illinois federal Judge Stephen McGlynn denied a preliminary request for the Jan. 1 deadline to be delayed.

“This Court will expeditiously conduct a full review of the legal challenges to [the Protecting Illinois Communities Act] on the merits,” McGlynn wrote. “This also points toward foregoing further preliminary wrangling and going straight to an exhaustive review of PICA and the Emergency Rules on the merits.”

Also last week, Attorney Thomas Maag filed for summary judgment against the law, alleging it violates citizens’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Months ago, Maag hinted at the looming challenge.

“There’s a whole host of circumstances that would result in persons who possess these firearms incriminating themselves by filling out a form and submitting them to Illinois State Police, which is a criminal law enforcement agency,” Maag told The Center Square in May.

In August, Maag discussed U.S. Supreme Court precedent in the 1968 case Haynes v. The United States. He said Illinois’ registry “suffers from the exact same defect.”

“There is no protections for the registrants having the information used against them, so the Supreme Court declared that unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment,” Maag said.

In Maag’s case last week, McGlynn ordered a status hearing to be held Jan. 4. The state is looking to delay that into the second week of January. That’s after the Jan. 1 registration deadline.

Of the 2.4 million Firearm Owners ID card holders in Illinois, about 15,100, or 0.63%, of FOID card holders have registered as of this week’s update from ISP. That’s nearly double the number of individuals registering than reported the week before.

John Boch of Guns Save Life said the compliance rate heading into the final days is dismal.

“There are millions of gun owners in Illinois who haven’t registered a thing, 99.4% noncompliance rate,” Boch told The Center Square. “That’s pretty astounding.”

Boch said residents have options like destroying or turning over the now banned items to law enforcement.

“Other options include rehoming your firearm outside of Illinois,” Boch said. “That’s an option a lot of people including myself have chosen to get the gun out of Illinois and out of reach of the governor.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association said it cannot provide legal advice, but that another option is to keep the firearm and do not register.

“This option is also based on the assumption that [the U.S. Supreme Court] will strike down the law. As a consequence of this option, firearm owners could face prosecution and imprisonment,” ISRA said in a statement. “As an individual gun owner, you must choose the best option for you.”

Those found with banned items that are not registered with Illinois State Police could face a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense and a Class 3 felony for second and subsequent offenses.

Rules for the gun ban registry are not finalized. Emergency rules in place since mid-September have not been officially updated by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. They meet again Jan. 16 in Springfield, where the bipartisan legislative body could accept gun ban registry rules on second notice.

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