Illinois Supreme Court expected to rule Friday on state's assault weapons ban

State lawmakers approved the ban in early January, and Gov. JB Pritzker quickly signed it into law. Before signing the bill, Pritzker invoked the memory of the July 4th parade massacre in Highland Park last year – which left seven people dead and 36 injured, and left a 2-year-old boy parentless and wandering around.

The shooter used legally-purchased semiautomatic weapon.

The legislation bans dozens of specific brands or types of rifles and handguns, .50-caliber guns, attachments and rapid-firing devices. No rifle will be allowed to accommodate more than 10 rounds, with a 15-round limit for handguns.

Judges in both Effingham County and Macon County downstate ruled the ban unconstitutional, but Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who is defending the ban, appealed those rulings to the state's highest court.

Restraining orders sought in lower courts have blocked the state from enforcing the ban against hundreds of gun owners and several gun shops that challenged the ban, but the law remains in effect for others.

In May, the Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur), whose attorneys argued the state's ban violates the equal protection and special legislation clauses of the state constitution.

The court's clerk on Thursday notified both sides that the court's opinion in the case would be filed Friday morning.

The law is also facing challenges in federal court, and in May the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the law statewide.

On April 28, U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn in East St. Louis issued a 29-page injunction ruling the ban was unconstitutional – because it restricted a person's right to defend themselves.

On May 4, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on that injunction.

That meant the law was allowed to remain effect while the case is reviewed by the Seventh Circuit.

Pritzker has always stood behind the ban saying it will hold up in court. Experts say it's not a slam dunk for either side, and ultimately this will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

"It's going to be a situation where we're going to all just have to sit back and wait because these lower courts aren't going to decide this case," CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said in April. "It's going to be the High Court of the land, and that's that. Frankly, that's where it should be." 

Miller said nothing goes quickly when it comes to the legal process, but he expects the state's assault weapons ban could go before the U.S. Supreme Court within the next several months, and possibly decided within a year.