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Federal judge lays out roadmap for how challenge to Illinois’ gun ban proceeds

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(The Center Square) – A federal judge handling the district level case challenging Illinois’ gun and magazine ban laid out a roadmap Wednesday for how the trial on the merits should proceed.

Illinois banned more than 170 semi-automatic firearms, attachments and magazines over certain capacities in January 2023. Lawsuits challenging the ban have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on preliminary orders without success.

While cases in the Northern District of Illinois are on hold while plaintiffs there ask the U.S. Supreme Court to again intervene, the case continues on the merits in the Southern District of Illinois.

Southern District of Illinois federal Judge Stephen McGlynn issued an order Friday for litigants with an outline of the things he wants to put on the record.

“The Court has previously advised the parties that this case will proceed on an expedited basis,” McGlynn wrote. “When the Court does enter a judgment with respect to the claims in this case, the Court will make a series of findings of fact based upon the relevant case law of Heller, Bruen, Friedman, and Bevis.”

Among the questions the court will address include what defines an “arm” in both recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the recent ruling on the case in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Todd Vandermyde, gun rights advocate and consultant for Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, said he’s never seen such an order in any other cases.

“Now you’re not guessing what he’s looking for to rule on,” Vandermyde told The Center Square. “The state knows what they may have to prove up and we know what we have to prove up.”

Other questions McGlynn is looking for both sides to address is whether the item defined as an arm “may be used to resist tyranny.” He wants both sides to also answer whether the banned arms have a dual-use for military and civilian settings, and whether such firearms are in common use or “dangerous and unusual.”

Vandermyde said McGlynn’s order is instructive.

“I think that what he gave us is a paint-by-numbers scheme to sit there and go ‘OK,’ here’s what he’s looking for,” he said.

McGlynn met Wednesday afternoon with attorneys from both sides for a closed conference to discuss various elements of the case and how discovery in the case will proceed.

“I don’t … see a lot of need in a ton of depositions for anything because this is largely matter of law,” Vandermyde said.

Vandermyde expects the trial in the case to proceed by the Fourth of July.

Supporters of Illinois’ gun ban say the law is needed to take “assault weapons” and “weapons of war” off the streets of Illinois.