Frank Easterbrook, the seething Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Justice has single-handedly done a bang-up job keeping Illinois gun owners on the defensive. We had a preliminary injunction blocking Gov. Pritzker’s PICA gun and magazine ban and then ol’ Frank stayed that decision.
OUR COURT STRATEGY.
Without giving away any privileged information, I will share the following…
On June 29th, Easterbrook along with another gun-hating jurist named Diane Wood heard the formal appeal for a preliminary injunction blocking the new law at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It is certain that they will vote to deny the motion and keep gun owners on the defensive in the courts. The third judge on the panel – Brennan – will probably (almost certainly) vote for the gun rights side of things, making it a 2-1 decision.
The only think keeping Easterbrook and Wood from writing a decision flat-out flouting Bruen entirely is that they know SCOTUS is watching.
The likelihood of SCOTUS accepting our appeal goes up sharply if they write some ludicrous word salad like that Kendall judge did in the Northern District of Illinois. Or like that judge in New York State did last week, writing that Bruen is “intellectually flawed” and as such he ignored it.
My guess is that the 7th Circuit panel will slow-walk the decision, knowing that chewing up time is the best strategy to keep gun control alive for a few more months. They’ll hope against hope that Justice Thomas and maybe two or three others develop the same malady that struck down Justice Scalia “unexpectedly” a few years ago.
What happens then?
We as plaintiffs can (and likely will) seek an en banc appeal to the entire Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. They may or may not accept it. Even if the entire 7th Circuit panel does accept it, it’s pretty close to an even split between strict Constitutionalists and those who have little or no respect for gun rights. Jurists like Easterbrook and Wood.
If the 7th denies the en banc appeal, we can (and probably will) appeal to the US Supreme Court.
No doubt Easterbrook and Wood will play the odds. They’ll hope that SCOTUS turns away our appeal as they do with 99.6% of cases they are asked to hear. What’s more, odds are even higher that they will turn it away as granting preliminary injunctions in cases that haven’t even been decided yet is something SCOTUS seldom ever does.
Easterbrook & Wood might also remand the case back to the district courts for more hearings (in essence, more delays. And more costs to plaintiffs in legal fees.)
The bottom line is that we will be lucky if SCOTUS strikes this trainwreck down before June 30th, 2024 which will be the end of the next term.
What’s that mean for all of us?
YOUR (& OUR) PERSONAL STRATEGY.
On Oct. 1, the Illinois State Police is supposed to start accepting gun registrations of affected firearms. I see little likelihood at this time of us having a court order blocking the new law by then. A lot can happen in three months, but in the world of courts, three months is very fast.
So do you register? If so which guns?
Of course, there’s some who employ a strict reading of the new law and realize that a Remington 870 pump shotgun is banned even though it’s not a semi-auto. Or that a 10/22 is banned just as surely as the AR-15. Whether or not the state takes a hard-line approach (or just leaves it ambiguous) is unknown.
Which do you register? I can’t help you there either.
I do strongly believe the Illinois Supreme Court will overturn the Macon County ruling (in the Caulkins case) striking down the PICA gun ban in state court. Once that happens, it’ll be Katie Bar the Door as the ISP will no doubt end the kinder-gentler “guidance” on the new law. It’ll adopt hard-line enforcement against some gun shops and gun owners to make some examples to scare everyone else into compliance. After all, your average gun owner has a lot to lose from a felony conviction whereas your average street thug could give a flying fornication.
You (and I) will have until January 1 to register guns that fall under the provisions of the new law.
I expect 20% compliance – if the boys over at ISP are really lucky. (It wouldn’t surprise me to see compliance in the single digits in percentages.) And even then, of those registering guns, I’d just about bet a dozen donuts or a box of 9mm ammo that 80+% of those folks don’t register all of the guns they have.
Now some will bury guns. A few might even have boating accidents. Others will move them out of state. Still others will do nothing. And no doubt, there will be a handful of people on the fringe who will not only say, “no thanks” to registration but also “MOLON LABE.” They will greet any “gun enforcement teams” with bullets, not legal briefs. I and a few scores of others have run into a handful of those sorts of folks in Livingston County first-hand. I’m sure there are plenty more. ISP and any affiliated agencies should probably send bachelors on those… “adventures.”
My advice for now: Be proactive. You’ve got three months before registration starts to sort out your collection and decide which, if any, firearms you wanna register. Do what you need to do. If you want me to buy your 6″ PVC pipe, I’m happy to do it, but there’s going to be a fee involved and I don’t do deliveries.
No, you can’t bury it in my yard. It’s too small. But there’s a nice flowerbed in front of the Village of Deerfield City Hall that if you transplant some flowers next spring, nobody will know the difference.
And Lord knows there are lots of dormant mausoleums across our state were you could secret a stash and nobody would be the wiser after a few weeks or months. There’s also fence rows and under junk cars. There are old barns and unused corn cribs. One might even put one or more under yard sheds, dog houses, or even in well houses. Or old outhouses.
I even know at least one stash buried under a dead cat. Unfortunately that one will likely never be found as the undertaker there had a stroke and can’t communicate today. And my memory is terrible. He told me roughly where it was at one time but I couldn’t even tell you which county today.
If you do have a boating accident or bury your stash under your pet hamster’s grave site, just don’t take your new car or your cell phone. Borrow a friend’s old car and leave your cell phone with your car for someone else to use.
I don’t know how far back telco peeps keep ping records of cell phone locations, or the locations of new cars, but be safer than sorry. But I will say your new car keeps no secrets about your location. Similarly, neither does your phone. Don’t believe me?