Federal Judge Rejects Attempt to Block Illinois’s Enforcement of Assault Weapons Ban

On February 17, 2023, a federal judge in Chicago rejected a motion seeking to impose a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to block the enforcement of Illinois’ assault weapons ban and a similar regulation in the city of Naperville. 

US District Judge Virginia Kendall ruled that day Illinois and Naperville prohibitions on selling assault weapons are “constitutionally sound.”

Lawyers for the National Association for Gun Rights and Robert Bevis, who is a gun store owner in Naperville, had sought the court orders in a lawsuit to halt the bans.

The plaintiffs argued that it’s “impossible” for the new state gun law and a similar Naperville regulation to comply with the requirements for such laws that were established in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen Supreme Court decision.

The Supreme Court ruled in that decision that governments must demonstrate  that gun regulations are “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

In Kendall’s ruling, she declared that the Illinois and Naperville prohibitions meet that burden due to how “assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons and high-capacity magazines are particularly dangerous weapon accessories, their regulation accords with history and tradition.”

“Naperville and Illinois lawfully exercised their authority to control their possession, transfer, sale, and manufacture by enacting a ban on commercial sales,” the judge wrote.

This lawsuit is one of several legal challenges directed against Illinois’ prohibition that is challenging this law on the grounds that it doesn’t meet the standard set by the landmark Bruen ruling. 

In that ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion in which he stated that regulations on weapons must be limited to dangerous and unusual arms that aren’t in common use.

The lawyers for the National Association for Gun Rights made the case that the weapons prohibited by the Illinois law are “unquestionably” commonly used. 

“An arm that is in common use for lawful purposes is, by definition, not unusual,” the lawyers stated. “Such an arm therefore cannot be both dangerous and unusual and therefore cannot be … subjected to a blanket ban.”

Hopefully, an appeal can right the wrongs that Illinois’ state government has carried out. Illinois is a lost cause legislatively due to it being a one-party Democratic Party state. It’s 39th place ranking in Gun & Ammo magazine’s rankings for best states for gun owners reflects that. 

At this point, the courts and nullification from below are the only ways to preserve any semblance of the right to bear arms in Illinois. 


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