Last Friday, a judge in Macon County ruled Gov. Pritzker’s vaunted Illinois Firearms Ban Act as unconstitutional.  The signed order, published all across the Internet, left a lot of folks perplexed.  Does it really apply to the entire state?  Does the order invalidate the entire law, or just parts?  

First up, we wrote an analysis last Friday evening with the best information we had at the time.  At this time, nothing has changed.  The Center Square reported on how the plaintiff’s attorney in the case, Jerry Stocks of Decatur, says the order applies statewide.

(The Center Square) – An attorney for state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, says he’s confident a final judgment against Illinois’ new gun ban issued by a Macon County judge Friday is statewide pending an expected appeal from the state.

Gov. J.B. Pritzer enacted the ban on certain semi-automatic weapons and magazines over certain capacities on Jan. 10. Two weeks after the ban was in effect, lawsuits were filed in federal- and state-level courts.

Macon County Judge Rodney Forbes ruled the state’s gun ban and registry unconstitutional.

“The Court is bound to apply the appellate court’s holdings to plaintiffs’ identical equal protection claim in this case,” Forbes said.

The case concluded in Macon County Friday had a temporary restraining order in place barring the state from enforcing the law against named plaintiffs. It is separate from three other cases brought by attorney Thomas DeVore in Effingham and White counties. DeVore’s cases, which were consolidated by the Illinois Supreme Court, also have temporary restraining orders in place but only for named plaintiffs. .

DeVore’s initial Effingham County case secured a TRO on several procedural issues and on an argument the law violates equal protections for exempting certain professions in security and law enforcement. The state appealed and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the TRO, but only for the equal protections argument. That led to a cascade of three other TROs to be issued, including for the Macon County case that also dealt with the equal protections argument.

“Further, equal protection and special legislation claims ‘are judged by the same standard,’ … so the Court is also bound to apply those holdings to plaintiffs’ special legislation claim in this case,” Forbes’ order said Friday. “Defendants argue that the [Effingham County case upheld by appellate court] is wrongly decided for multiple reasons but acknowledge that the Court is bound to apply it. For these reasons, the Court enters final judgment in favor of plaintiffs.”

Before the order was signed, Stocks explained his understanding of its impact.

“A judgment that a law is unconstitutional we submit would be void as if it never existed and it would be unenforceable in all applications and in all respects that would mean statewide,” Stocks told The Center Square. “The state is not going to concede that point but the order will have its legal impact.”

Greg Bishop also release a video with an interview with Mr. Stocks.


IN all fairness, Todd Vandermyde, our Illinois Gun Law Guru released this on his Freedom’s Steel YouTube channel.  I have an enormous amount of respect of the guy who earned this motto from IL gun owners:  In Todd We Trust.   


Here’s my take:

Illinois Dealers are prudent to be skittish about conflicting interpretations of the order from Macon County.  What’s more, they have far too much on the line to risk making a mistake.  So don’t get upset with them for playing it safe. 

The Illinois Attorney General doesn’t want to admit that their precious gun control law is on life support after the court order.  It would be dead if it weren’t for the appeal filed by Kwame about two hours after the order was issued.

Was this some sort of great scheme from the AG’s office as attorney Tom DeVore seems to suggest?  Eh, the AG’s office knew the judge was going to sign this order and they had drafted the appeal ahead of time.

Of course, Tom DeVore is busying dumping all manner of salt on Caulkins’ case and his win.  As we noted in our earlier analysis piece, DeVore sent out a rather dubious email to some of what we believe were his dealer plaintiffs.

Dealers are in a tight spot.  They don’t want to do something and then get gigged by the State of Illinois if it wasn’t what they thought it was.

One of our commenters who goes by the handle “David Deplorable” put it succinctly.  Frankly, I wish I had made the connection.

This reminds me a lot of people like me refusing to carry in a Fanny pack or anything similar for fear of arrest and or prosecution when the law said it was perfectly legal. But that didn’t stop a lot of police chiefs and states attorneys from threatening arrests and prosecutions.

I suspect he is exactly right.  Recall how twenty-plus years ago, comments from some police officers, police chiefs and state prosecutors threatening arrests and prosecution for those who carry an unloaded, encased firearm with a FOID card in the wallet certainly chilled people exercising that perfectly legal manner of “transporting” firearms.

Caulkins’ attorney and Caulkins himself have suggested for those who have any doubts to contact their local state’s attorney to get their read on this.  That sounds like some great advice.

Hopefully this will flesh out in the coming days and weeks.

UPDATE:  Greg Bishop posted another video this morning…

Juicy quote:  “Well, if a law is unconstitutional, it’s unconstitutional.  And I would not want to be in the position of any law enforcement ever enforcing a law that’s been adjudicated unconstitutional because their insurance carrier for 1983 liability is going to be doing handstands and flips.”

9 thoughts on “MACON COUNTY: ‘Attorney confident final judgment against Illinois gun ban challenge applies statewide’ UPDATED!”
  1. John is right to caution against trusting the government. To them we the law abiding gun owners are the “problem” not the gang bangers in Chicago killing young kids. In my book a win is a win. I do not like this in-fighting John has described between the lawsuits. Lets pray they all win on each of their own merits.

  2. A win is a win, I guess, but in all practicality it doesn’t appear that Friday really amounted to much at all. Even if the order was statewide, dealers have been cowed into ignoring it, and nothing at all has changed. Very disappointing. We went from thinking this was a great victory to ‘meh’ in less than 72 hours.

    If no one bothers to honor the TRO, do we really even have one? It appears to me the law is still fully in place and the judicial orders are being ignored.

  3. John, I know I’m playing in your sandbox now, and you will continue to cancel my replies, but here’s the truth.
    * There is no statewide injuction currently
    * Caulkin’s is either an idiot or working for Pritzker. (probably both)
    Caulkins is on a course to sink the state challenges, all the while his campaign account is fattened up. You need to wise up and get on the right side of history. Your attachment to Caulkins may end up sinking your organization as well. If Caulkins blows this at the Supreme Court you may have a challenge keeping members.

    1. We welcome everyone here.

      “No statewide injunction? Yes, you’re correct. There’s a FINAL JUDGEMENT that has been entered.
      “Caulkins is an idiot or working for Pritzker”? LOL. Caulkins strikes me as bright. His attorney is even brighter. Working for JB? Now, that’s laughable.

      Caulkins action may sink all challenges if he is successful. While his account is getting fattened up? He’s collected less than $20k and has a final judgement (under appeal) that impacts all 2.5M Illinois gun owners. I’m not sure how much Jerry Stocks has billed to date, but that seems a helluva lot more efficient (and altruistic) than Tom DeVore collecting about $800k for court actions that protect about 4,000+ from enforcement.

      Sinking Guns Save Life? We’re fighting the good fight and have been for thirty years. Tell me, how many victories at the Illinois Supreme Court do you have in your back pocket?

    2. Is this DeVore? I’m thinking it is. Why don’t you attack ISRA, GSL, and the NRA while you’re at it?! They also filed suits against the AWB for free. And accusing Caulkins of colluding with Fat Boy? YOU sound like you’re working with the state, the way you’re trying to divide people.

  4. I hope Mr. Boch is right. I continue to have my doubts. The issue of the scope of the application of a circuit court finding a law unconstitutional is not new. In December of last year the SafeT Act was found unconstitutional by a circuit judge. You can read about it here:

    The same issue of application was present. Commenting on this case:

    “A trial court is not a court of review… so its decision is not precedent in trial courts in other counties,” Professor of Government and Politics at Illinois State University Thomas McClure said.

    The state wide application issue in SafeT Act matter was resolved when the Illinois Supreme Court intervened and issued a temporary injunction. This raises the question, if the Caulkins Circuit Court finding strikes down the law state wide, why was it necessary for the ISC to act in the SafeT Act case? Same circumstances, Circuit Court finds law unconstitutional, dispute about scope of applicability. Perhaps this is what Caulkins and his attorney are banking on. ds

  5. One step at a time, we all know the “anti-constitutionalists” will fight to try to keep the unconstitutional “law” from being thrown on the manure pile with all their might. The more lawsuits and public opposition to the crappy way it was instituted (aka: lame duck session, slammed through just before the “midnight hour”, signed into “law” asap, without possibility of opposition, etc.) the more “daylight” cast upon it through the courts, especially courts outside of the Chitcago and Crook County areas, the better for 2A believing citizens.
    Courts move slow, and it has only been just shy of 2 months since Jelly-Belly signed the crappy “law”. Keep up the good fight and appreciate those who are in the “trenches”. Lets keep the “in-fighting” to a minimum, por-favor!

    1. Agree on the in-fighting. I do not see it as productive at all. We must remember that Caulkins and Devore are not arguing their cases on 2A grounds, but on equal protection grounds (and in Caulkins’ case, Special Legislation grounds). Equal Protection is a good argument, but should ISC throw the law out on that basis, Don Morgan and his merry little band of soy boy clowns could simply come back in, strip out all the protected classes, re-pass the law with a supermajority, and send it to Fatboy’s desk to be signed again. The difference would be an outright ban for everyone, which would satisfy equal protection as argued. The challenges on procedurals were denied by the lower courts (three-reading, gut and replace, etc.) as being the purview of the ISC alone to rule upon. I suppose you could argue under Equal Protection at the Federal level that a citizen 1 foot into Indiana can buy something legally that the same citizen 1 foot into Illinois cannot, but that isn’t going to be decided by an Illinois court.

      In the end, these actions by Caulkins and Devore are good for establishing TROs. Statewide would be great, but don’t count on the leftist ISC upholding or expanding the rulings in place. I think it far more likely that they simply stay the Macon County order in the next few days, hear the appeal in June, and reverse the TROs allowing the law to proceed.

      God knows when the Federal actions are going to wind their way through the courts, and whatever happens will be appealed to the Appellate and ultimately the Supreme Courts. By then, this law will be fully in place barring any unforeseen action. The State knows time is on their side. Dealers will be put out of business. Gun owners will either become instant felons or have to register their guns with ISP. You will be able to have your guns but not enjoy them at all unless you happen to live in a shooting range or gun store. Assuming of course the State doesn’t come back and try for outright confiscation in a rewrite.

      Can we get the Federal courts to injunct the law in total to prevent the gun registration scheme and the timelines for enforcement? To be honest, I just don’t know. Maybe someone with real legal experience can comment here. My opinions are only speculation based on what I read here and elsewhere. I hope I am completely wrong about all I have said about being on the short end of the stick. Will we prevail? I think so, eventually. 2A and the rulings of the last 15 years are clearly on our side. The Illinois Constitution is on our side. Will it be too late to prevent all the bad things happening? I wish I knew.

  6. This is the longest fracking wait period ever. I bought an MCX on Jan 6 and I guess I didn’t do the background check in time. How the hell they can hold my legally purchased property against my will because of a law that was passed after I purchased it is beyond my legal comprehension. I’d like to go to the gun store at night and take what’s mine but then I’D be the bad guy. How’d that happen? America is a joke of its former self. Sic semper tyrannis.

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