Illinois ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Blocked
A federal judge has blocked enforcing an “assault weapons” ban in Illinois, CBS reported.
The law bans “assault-style” weapons and high-capacity magazines, while also requiring that existing owners register them with the state police.
“Plaintiffs have satisfied their burden for a preliminary injunction,” wrote Judge Stephen McGlynn of the United States District Court for Southern Illinois. “They have shown irreparable harm with no adequate remedy at law, a reasonable likelihood of success on merits, that the public interest is in favor of the relief, and the balance of harm weighs in their favor.”
The law, the Protecting Illinois Communities Act, was signed into law by Gov J.B. Pritzker (D). It was passed in the wake of the mass shooting in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, last July 4. According to The Hill, in addition to banning the sale and distribution of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, it also bans switches that convert handguns into assault weapons.
McGlynn stressed that granting the injunction did not constitute a decision on the merits of the case, just that the groups that sued – associations representing firearms manufacturers, distributors and retailers, gun ranges and individuals – met the standard required to issue the injunction. He noted, however, that it had a high likelihood of conflicting with the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bruen v. New York.
“Can PICA be harmonized with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and with Bruen? That is the issue before this court. The simple answer at this stage in the proceedings is likely ‘no,’” he wrote.
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the State of Illinois argued that PICA was consistent with Bruen because the types of guns the law bans did not exist when the Second Amendment was adopted, but McGlynn rejected it because the Supreme Court explicitly said the Amendment applies to contemporary firearms.
He also wrote that the state has many means to prevent gun violence other than outright bans and urged them to take those possibilities more seriously. “There is a wide array of civil and criminal laws that permit the commitment and prosecution of those who use or may use firearms to commit crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors should take their obligations to enforce these laws seriously. Families and the public at large should report concerning behavior. Judges should exercise their prudent judgment in committing individuals that pose a threat to the public and imposing sentences that punish, not just lightly inconvenience, those guilty of firearms-related crimes.”
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a statement that he planned on filing an appeal and defending the law’s constitutionality.