Federal Judge Halts State's New 'Assault Weapon' Ban, Cites Likely Second Amendment Violation
A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction barring the state of Illinois from enforcing an “assault weapon” ban.
Judge Stephen McGlynn of the Southern District of Illinois, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said the Protect Illinois Communities Act cannot be enforced until a final decision on the constitutionality of the law is made, according to WGN-TV. He said the law will likely be found unconstitutional.
In his ruling, McGlynn noted that the impetus of PICA was the Highland Park shooting, in which seven people were killed and 48 wounded during a Fourth of July event last year.
“Can the senseless crimes of a relative few be so despicable [as] to justify the infringement of the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals in hopes that such crimes will then abate or, at least, not be as horrific?” he wrote.
“More specifically, 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,’” McGlynn said. The 2022 Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen tossed out restrictions on gun rights in New York.
McGlynn said the Supreme Court has “held that citizens have a constitutional right to own and possess firearms and may use them for self-defense. PICA seems to be written in spite of the clear directives in Bruen and Heller, not in conformity with them.” In the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of individuals to own guns.
“No state may enact a law that denies its citizens rights that the Constitution guarantees them. Even legislation that may enjoy the support of a majority of its citizens must fail if it violates the constitutional rights of fellow citizens,” McGlynn wrote.
As to a limit on the size of magazines that was part of the law, McGlynn noted that “it is hard to imagine something more closely correlated to the right to use a firearm in self-defense than the ability to effectively load ammunition into the firearm.”
Although Illinois tried to claim that semiautomatic weapons could be banned because they did not exist at the time the Second Amendment was written, McGlynn said that argument had already been dismantled by the Supreme Court.
McGlynn also wrote that he does not intend to “minimize the damage caused when a firearm is used for an unlawful purpose; however, this Court must be mindful of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”
“It does not appear that the legislature considered an individual’s right under the Second Amendment nor Supreme Court precedent. Moreover, PICA did not just regulate the rights of the people to defend themselves; it restricted that right, and in some cases, completely obliterated that right,” he said.
McGlynn’s decision contradicts one from Judge Lindsay Jenkins of the Northern District of Illinois, according to WLS-TV. Jenkins was appointed by President Joe Biden.
Appeals of both rulings are expected.
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