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Tipsheet

Second Amendment Win: Federal Judge Blocks Illinois Ban on Some Semi-Automatic Rifles, Magazines

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

A federal judge in Illinois has temporarily blocked enforcement of a ban on some semi-automatic rifles and large capacity magazines, ruling that there is a “reasonable likelihood” that multiple plaintiffs who have sued will be successful in their argument that the law violates their Second Amendment rights. 

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The law, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA), was passed after the mass shooting in Highland Park last year, where a gunman opened fire at an Independence Day parade, killing seven and injuring dozens of others. 

“Can the senseless crimes of a relative few be so despicable 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? 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,’” U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn said in the ruling. "The Supreme Court in Bruen and Heller 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."

McGlynn also pointed to other means available for addressing gun violence. 

"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," he said. "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 firearm-related crimes."

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The decision handed down Friday came days after another federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois rejected a request to block the law.

Responding to the ruling, Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office said it will file an appeal.  “We…remain committed to defending the constitutionality of the Protect Illinois Communities Act."


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