Assault Weapons Ban Case has its day in Illinois Court
On Jan. 10, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law an Illinois gun ban that criminalized the possession of more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and certain magazines. Four plaintiffs’ groups sued in federal court, alleging the law violates the 2nd Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
Second Amendment Foundation Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said, “Illinois has banned the future sale, importation, purchase, delivery, and manufacture of the most popular rifle in the United States, along with their standard capacity magazines. People who already own such firearms must now register their guns with the State Police. This ban violates the Constitutional rights of Illinois gun owners, and we intend to prove it in court.”
A preliminary injunction is sought in a Southern District of Illinois court in East St. Louis to overturn the four consolidated cases. The case was heard Wednesday, April 12th, 2023, with nearly a third of Illinois’ state’s attorneys asking the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn the state’s gun ban.
On Monday, two days before the hearing, one phase of the state’s gun ban had already started. Those found with non-compliant magazines face a petty offense with a $1,000 fine. Those found with non-compliant firearms can face up to a Class 3 felony. The plaintiffs’ attorneys want this resolved as soon as possible due to the sheer urgency of the matter.
Days before the case was heard, Richard Pearson from the Illinois State Rifle Association said he expected to achieve a preliminary injunction. He also expects the state of Illinois will appeal the case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and it will eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Stephen McGlynn started Wednesday’s proceedings by stating, “It’s not my job to make policy decisions. My job is to make sure that the policy decisions of the legislative or executive branch are consistent with the constitution.”
Plaintiff Attorney Erin Murphy said during arguments that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently set a standard for what is to be considered arms with respect to the 2nd Amendment. Murphy explained that semi-automatic firearms are arms commonly used by law-abiding gun owners.
Some debate went on about what restrictions were possible when it comes to firearms, magazine capacity, grenade launchers, and certain attachments. There was also talk about whether 50 caliber rifles should be banned.
The state representative Christopher Wells argued that the firearms mentioned in the new law should be banned because of their technological advancement. He tried arguing that because the Framers of the Constitution didn’t have these firearms, they shouldn’t be legal today. He also argued that AR-15s can find themselves in the wrong hands.
Judge McGlynn gave several interesting and seemingly pro-2nd Amendment examples of why these firearms should be legal. He mentioned a woman using an AR-15 in the home for self-defense as a better choice than a shotgun. Judge McGlynn also noted that a bolt-action rifle, which is legal under the Illinois gun ban, was used to kill President John Kennedy in 1963 with only three shots being fired in under a minute.
When discussing what should be banned and what shouldn’t, McGlynn asked, “Who gets to decide?”
On their way out of court on Wednesday after the hearing, gun rights advocate Todd Vandermyde and Plaintiffs Attorney Thomas Maag seemed very confident that Judge Stephen McGlynn would see the case in their favor. They commented that the judge read all the briefs and was very familiar with the topics. According to Maag, the State’s argument seemed to be nothing more than an argument that the State Legislature can do whatever they want to override the Constitution. Maag also said, “They seem to ignore the Bruen case out of New York,” which has recently set new precedent specifically relating to the “historical tradition” of gun laws in America.
Attorneys for the state declined to comment after the hearing.
Due to the necessity for gun laws to now meet “historical tradition,” as written in the Bruen case by Judge Clarence Thomas, and the determination of “common use,” we are likely to see more cases being argued on this precedent as we move into the future. The Bruen case was a gift that will keep on giving for decades.
In typical constitution-overreaching and gun-grabbing fashion, this case is expected to be appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
About Dan Wos, Author – Good Gun Bad Guy
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Dan Wos is a nationally recognized 2nd Amendment advocate, Host of The Loaded Mic and Author of the “GOOD GUN BAD GUY” book series. He speaks at events, is a contributing writer for many publications, and can be found on radio stations across the country. Dan has been a guest on Newsmax, the Sean Hannity Show, Real America’s Voice, and several others. Speaking on behalf of gun-rights, Dan exposes the strategies of the anti-gun crowd and explains their mission to disarm law-abiding American gun-owners.