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Supreme Court Delivers Ruling on Illinois ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Law

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday to allow an Illinois ban on “assault weapons” to take effect temporarily.

“The ruling allows the Illinois law to remain in effect while lower courts deliberate on its constitutional status. Wednesday’s ruling comes after a gun shop owner in Illinois requested an injunction against the ban. The Illinois law bans the sale and new possession of semi-automatic assault weapons. Those who already legally own such weapons would not have to turn them in. The law also bans the sale of large-capacity magazines,” Fox News reported.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit is currently considering the case. The request for an injunction went to Justice Amy Coney Barrett,” the outlet added.

In late April, a federal judge handed state Democrats in Illinois defeat when he issued a temporary injunction against a so-called “assault weapons” ban signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in January.

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According to Just the News, the law defines those guns as “a semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine or that may be readily modified to accept a detachable magazine.” In addition, if a rifle possesses any external features unrelated to its firing capacity, such as certain stocks, flash suppressors, or grenade launchers, it is considered part of the banned category of firearms.

In his ruling, United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois Judge Stephen Patrick McGlynn, a Trump appointee, stated that the court “must be mindful of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution” in his ruling, per Fox News.

The law also includes penalties for anyone who “Carries or possesses… Manufactures, sells, delivers, imports, or purchases any assault weapon or .50 caliber rifle.” In addition, the law requires anyone who owned a newly banned weapon at the time the law took effect to register it with the Illinois State Police.

The legislation bans any kits or tools that increase the firing rate of a semiautomatic weapon, and it also includes a limit on purchases of certain magazines.

A plaintiff in the case, Gun Owners of America, said the ruling ought to be a wake-up call for Pritzker and his Democratic Party.

“Governor Pritzker and his anti-gun cabal in the legislature thought they could steam roll the Second Amendment, and this ruling makes clear that they abused their authority and infringed on their citizens’ rights. We look forward to continuing this fight,” GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said, according to Fox News.

The judge wrote in his ruling that he wasn’t attempting to “minimize the damage caused when a firearm is used for an unlawful purpose.” However, he noted as well that the law itself unconstitutionally limited the Second Amendment right of Illinois residents.

“[Protect Illinois Communities Act] did not just regulate the rights of the people to defend themselves; it restricted that right, and in some cases, completely obliterated that right by criminalizing the purchase and the sale of more than 190 ‘arms,'” McGlynn wrote in his ruling.

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The ruling from McGlynn came not long after United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Judge Lindsay Jenkins, who President Biden appointed, refused to block the law’s enforcement.

“The challenged restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and large-capacity magazines … are consistent with ‘the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,’ namely the history and tradition of regulating particularly ‘dangerous’ weapons,” Jenkins noted in her ruling.

Biden has repeatedly vowed to re-enact a federal ban on such rifles similar to one passed during Bill Clinton’s first term. It expired a decade later during then-President George W. Bush’s tenure.

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In August, a federal judge handed Second Amendment advocates a similar victory in Colorado.

The Reload, a website tracking gun-related issues, reported the federal court action was the second in as many months barring enforcement of a ban on certain types of semi-automatic rifles.

Interestingly, the federal judge who blocked the Colorado ban was also appointed by Biden.

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