NATIONAL NEWS

US Supreme Court declines to hear 2nd Illinois case challenging state’s ban on semiautomatic weapons

Jan 8, 2024, 3:04 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear a second Illinois case challenging the state’s ban on semiautomatic weapons, which took effect Jan. 1.

Decatur Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins appealed last summer’s ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court upholding the prohibition on handguns and rifles of the type used in the 2022 Highland Park Independence Day parade shooting that killed seven and injured more than 30. Under the ban, no one may possess or manufacture nearly 200 types of the firearms or accompanying high-capacity magazines, and those who already own such guns are required to register them with the Illinois State Police.

Caulkins and his co-plaintiffs — a Decatur pawn broker and individual gun owners from the area — wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to review their claim that two state court justices, by their participation in the opinion, violated the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

They said Justices Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien should have recused themselves because they accepted campaign contributions from advocates of gun restrictions, including the Gun Violence Prevention political action committee and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has repeatedly denied he expected anything in return for his financial support.

“Judges must preserve both the reality and appearance of impartiality,” Caulkins said. “It is impossible for these justices to be impartial after accepting millions of dollars in campaign cash from gun-control advocates and after receiving the support of a radical organization like G-PAC.”

Rochford wrote the court’s opinion, which dismissed Caulkins’ claim that the law is unconstitutional in part because it carves out exceptions for some categories of people, such as retired police officers, allowing them to keep their semiautomatic guns. O’Brien dissented for that very reason, calling it illegal special legislation.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear another case on the issue last month. The case came from a federal appeals court in Illinois that recognized the legitimacy of delineating a difference between weapons suitable for military use or other “trained professionals” and those for civilians.

Caulkins and the other plaintiffs’ attorney, Jerrold Stocks, of Decatur, noted that several other cases are in line for court decisions that could land at the high court, particularly those with direct 2nd Amendment challenges to the law.

Caulkins and Stocks said they are considering legal options, which includes seeking a state court rehearing, but declined to elaborate further.

At least 10 states plus the District of Columbia have prohibitions on semiautomatic firearms.

National News

Associated Press

Rail bridge collapses during Midwest flooding as a heat wave persists across much of the US

Millions of Americans sweated through a scorching weekend as temperatures soared across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest. One person died during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said. From the mid-Atlantic to Maine, across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the West to California, public officials […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

15 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men stepped in and drew firearms, according to a statement from St. Louis police. The man who died likely was in his mid-twenties and […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

18 hours ago

US Supreme Court declines to hear 2nd Illinois case challenging state’s ban on semiautomatic weapons