7th Circuit Court Rules Bans on ‘Assault Weapons’ Can Be Based on Feelings

AR15 Black Rifle Assault Weapon
7th Circuit Court Rules Bans on ‘Assault Weapons’ Can Be Based on Feelings
Firearms Policy Coalition
Firearms Policy Coalition

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- In a stunning 2-1 decision published today that upheld a City of Highland Park, Illinois ordinance (§136.005 of the City Code) that prohibits the possession of so-called “assault weapons” and “large‐capacity magazines,” Seventh Circuit Cout of Appeals Judge Frank Easterbrook held that

[a]nother constitutional principle is relevant: the Constitution establishes a federal republic where local differences are cherished as elements of liberty, rather than eliminated in a search for national uniformity. McDonald circumscribes the scope of permissible experimentation by state and local governments, but it does not foreclose all possibility of experimentation. Within the limits established by the Justices in Heller and McDonald, federalism and diversity still have a claim. Whether those limits should be extended is in the end a question for the Justices. Given our understanding of existing limits, the judgment [of the trial court, which held that the gun control ordinance was constitutional] is AFFIRMED.

Adding insult to injury, the majority found that “[i]f a ban on semi‐automatic guns and large‐capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.”

In his dissent, Judge Manion found that

[b]y prohibiting a class of weapons commonly used throughout the country, Highland Park’s ordinance infringes upon the rights of its citizens to keep weapons in their homes for the purpose of defending themselves, their families, and their property. Both the ordinance and this court’s opinion upholding it are directly at odds with the central holdings of Heller and McDonald: that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.


Unlike public life where the cities and states have broad authority to regulate,the ultimate decision for what constitutes the most effective means of defending one’s home, family, and property resides in individual citizens and not in the government. The Heller and McDonald opinions could not be clearer on this matter. Heller, 554 U.S. at 635; McDonald, 561 U.S. at 780. The extent of danger—real or imagined—that a citizen faces at home is a matter only that person can assess in full.

To be sure, assault rifles and large capacity magazines are dangerous. But their ability to project large amounts of force accurately is exactly why they are an attractive means of selfdefense. While most persons do not require extraordinary means to defend their homes, the fact remains that some do. Ultimately, it is up to the lawful gun owner and not the government to decide these matters. To limit self-defense to only those methods acceptable to the government is to effect an enormous transfer of authority fromthe citizens of this country to the government—a result directly contrary to our constitu-tion and to our political tradition. The rights contained in the Second Amendment are “fundamental” and “necessary to our system of ordered liberty.” McDonald, 561 U.S. at 778. The government recognizes these rights; it does not confer them.

Judges Easterbrook, Manion, and Williams were appointed by President Ronald Reagan. The complete decision can be viewed or downloaded here.

TAKEAWAYS (**opinion**):

1. This decision underscores the need for the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari in Jackson v. San Francisco. The Second Amendment is bleeding out on the table….and most lower courts seem to be perfectly happy to watch it die in its infancy.

2. This decision does not bode well for challengers of bans that are similar to that in Friedman v. Highland Park. Don’t be surprised if you see more state and local governments use cases like Friedman and Fyock v. Sunnyvale as cover to pass sweeping new bans in the next few years.

3. If this is what the federal Right to Keep and Bear Arms is going to look like in practice, then it seems plausible that thousands–and possibly millions–of law-abiding gun owners in “battleground states” will move their lives and families to “free” states in the coming years to avoid criminal liability and loss of property for simply being a gun owner.

4. It seems equally plausible that thousands–and possibly millions–of gun owners in “battleground states” will simply ignore the law and take their chances, leading to the unfortunate (and devastating) arrest and prosecution of otherwise good and peaceful people.


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The constitution was given to us by men and women willing to give up their lives to protect this country and it’s constitution. It was written in plan English so as not to be misunderstood. Simply put the Bill of Rights tells the government what they cannot do or take from the American people. Many have died in this country’s history they gave all for us today. It is time that we stand up for this constitution and country and take it back. The best way is to vote get off you ass and vote for good men and women.… Read more »


This judge that made the ruling should be removed from the bench and disbarred from participating in the judicial process for life. This ruling will be appealed and ultimately reversed.

As Ron White famously says, “you can’t fix stupid…it’s forever!”


This judge that made the ruling should be removed from the bench and disbarred from participating in the judicial process for life. This ruling will be appealed and ultimately reversed.

As Ron White says, “ya can’t fix stupid…it’s forever!”

Chicago Guy

“[a]nother constitutional principle is relevant: the Constitution establishes a federal republic where local differences are cherished as elements of liberty, rather than eliminated in a search for national uniformity.”
With that thought in mind, homosexual “marriage” can be left up to the states, and not the feds.

Robert Ross

AND what if these balloon brains had a fight with their spouse on any given day or road rage, or a flat tire on the to somewhere ??? Oh I feel that …………………………………..?????? They are all NUTS, I say NUTS


Liberals should never be allowed to serve as justices. Since they determine all things based on feelings rather than the letter of the law and common sense they are not qualified. The same holds true for all politicians in my opinion.

Al E. Gator

Well, I’d “feel safer” if all the pickininnies were shipped back to the Congo. Is that legal?

Rich R

So I can now assume this judge will be supportive of communities who vote to make abortion and gay marriage illegal in their cities and counties. In fact, he is supportive of overturning court rulings which overruled the vast majority of states who voted against gay marriage, but now must accept them.

Terry Dykstra

Where does it end? Assault weapons , machine guns, nukes? People paranoid about protection
need some limits somewhere along the way. Let’s be reasonable. Most people in the USA
don’t trust that their children are safe in public places around those who exhibit so much fear
or anger that they must arm themselves to the teeth. Trigger happy people are frightening.
And who is to know the mental state of one carrying an assault weapon in public? We all
want to feel safe. Can the gun lobby at least meet us half way?


I take it that you think anyone who carries a firearm is trigger happy and paranoid. Peculiar since the people you seem to rely on for your safety and security all carry one.

john Carr

There is no halfway dumb ass. The law is the law.

James W. Holland, Sr., SFC Ret

This is another case of Judges on the Federal Benches at the District and Circuit Level “Creating and Making Laws” vice interpreting existing Laws. The Constitution and its Amendments have already been “CLEARLY WRITTEN” without need of re-interpretation to mean something else at the whimsical Air of these “Left Handed Reactionary Liberal Judges”, who have succumbed to the Marxist Doctrine of the last 30 years of the University Educational Systems that have taken over our UNITED STATES by the Vietnam Era protesters and those Pardoned by William Jefferson Clinton, who had went to Canada and other parts of the World… Read more »

Chicago Guy

“The Constitution establishes a federal republic where local differences are cherished as elements of liberty, rather than eliminated in a search for national uniformity.” Oh Yeah? Then by that logic, the states also have a right to ban gay marriage.


So leftist idiot ‘judge’ Easterbrook is attempting to infringe 2nd amendment rights (which literally say “shall not be infringed”, and which have just been ruled as both personal and proper by higher court rulings) based upon his inadvertent 10th amendment argument of supra-federal Local powers asserting “local differences (as) cherished …elements of liberty”. LOL The only thing the establishment hates worse than the 2nd amendment, is the 10th! This will be quickly struck down by whichever communist or neocon (or, heaven forefend, jeffersonian) appeals judge it falls upon. Arguing ‘local liberty’ in order to abridge human rights. That didn’t work… Read more »

Art Minnich

I am a gun owner and I do carry. After reading this article I must say that there is merit to what Judge Easterbrook says. “The Constitution establishes a federal republic where local differences are cherished as elements of liberty, rather than eliminated in a search for national uniformity.” On that statement he is absolutely correct. Our founding fathers knew the key to individual liberty was state sovereignty. That was the purpose of the 10th Amendment. We can not hope to bring an abusive, irresponsible federal government under control if we continually seek protection outside their enumerated powers. This is… Read more »

Robert Lucas

My question to the anti-gun lobby is, Do you like your freedom now? What are you going to do when it is gone? Remember the” criminals of this nation” are the greatest proponents of the “Anti-Gun Lobby” laws. We can no longer let the 2nd Amendment take the abuse. Eliminate all the legal citizens guns , and all the criminal guns still remain! Continue the fight in all 50 States, now is not the time to stop.

Michael Zanni


Jon Davis

If this law can be based on feelings, then the next logical step is to immediately hold a local vote so that every citizen affected by this ruling can voice his/her feeling about how safe they feel without these weapons and let the majority rule.

Louis paress

This will continue until we stand to gather a force ably take our country back . Revolution.


People around the country need to start moving to free states ! There are so many of them to pick from. AZ would be a great state to go to. AZ is almost as awesome as Texas but we are getting flooded with yankees right now,don’t need no more at this time ! Ban firearms because of ‘feelings’ ? My feelings toward them gun-grabbing liberals is F*CK YOU !


Them fucktards can ban all they want to that doesn’t mean I will ever give up my guns ,as a once famous man said FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS


Those f#cktards can pass all the dumbass laws they want the constitution is my law as a famous man once said FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!


We can now clearly see how Obamas’ “stacking the deck” with judges is working against the constitution and our freedom. It makes me very sad, that at 71 years of age, and being a Viet Nam Veteran, that our country is going down, both in freedom but economically. The US dollar is losing international acceptance and all the while we are becoming more socialistic. It will not be long before the United States is a second-rate country. Please Conservatives, urge your relatives and friends to vote to restore our nation. Additionally, contact your Representatives and urge them to work for… Read more »


According to the article above the three judges involved in this ruling were appointed president Ronald Reagan. You can’t blame Obama for everything.


So what were those judges political ideology when Reagan appointed them?


“To be sure, assault rifles and large capacity magazines are dangerous.”

Uh, no, magazines and “assault” weapons are NOT dangerous. Unless someone picks one up, they are inanimate objects. They are tools and can be used or misused just like any others.


@Blair,I couldn’t remember that word Inanimate,thanks ! A hammer,screwdriver could kill in the hands of a madman too.The liberal douches know this too ! They are just under the illusion that firearms are bad and should only be used by LE and the military ! NOT ! They are trying to demonize firearms to our kids too ! That too,won’t ever happen !


Things like this will keep happening because people with money and power will keep using that to push their political agendas on the population. They put their cronies in places of authority to include judges, politicians, police, mayors, etc. who will vote the way they are told /payed to vote. Then there are those that use their positions of authority who vote based on “their” personal feelings instead of what the law dictates and, they are allowed to continue. (look at the president) Governor’s who change, add or impose laws on the people living in that state because of their… Read more »


So… if one “feels” threatened by a pair of gay customers coming thru the door of one’s business, someone can ban them and refuse to serve them based on their “feelings?” If I “feel” threatened by a large, white male with a “HILLARY” t-shirt, can I refuse to serve him at my bar, tavern, or fast food place because I “feel” threatened by a SOCIALIST? Can a coalition of bicycle riders have all Dodge Hemis and Magnums banned within the city limits because they “feel threatened” by cars or trucks with more that 4 cylinders, and that would create a… Read more »


you present three hypothetical perceived threats. and the three ‘groups’, seen through your minds eye, belie what you wrote. in a privately owned establishment, yes, one can refuse service to anyone. good business sense? perhaps not. but well within ones legal rights. i had a sign behind the bar i tended that read; ‘no political or religious arguments or debates. offenders WILL BE PHYSICALLY REMOVED IF NECESSARY’ why? because we ALL know what becomes of(alcohol fueled, especially)such nonsense, nothing. just more hate amongst the people at the community level. the folks that actually make the modern civilization function….i digress. my… Read more »

David Shipley Jr.

When are these liberal idiots going to realize the only people that are being protected by restrictive gun laws are the criminals. To support that claim look @ Chicago, some of the most restrictive gun laws in the entire country and still manages to have the highest murder rate in the entire country verses say like Texas. A lot more people, way less restrictive gun restrictions, and a much lower rate of violent crime.


So, under this premise, if the majority of people in a community have fearful feelings towards a certain ethnic group, said ethnic group can be excluded from said communities?? Pun.


Let me add: My feelings (and tons of actual data) support just the opposite of what they are claiming. History supports just the opposite of what they are claiming.

Sheep leading the wolves. Yeah, that’s going to work out Just Fine.


“The Second Amendment is bleeding out on the table….and most lower courts seem to be perfectly happy to watch it die in its infancy.”

Along with all the other 9 amendments in the Bill of Rights.


Not “Rule of Law” but “Rule of Feelings” now?

No scientific basis, just a feeling?

Feelings….nothing more than feelings?

We are so screwed.

Carl Stevenson

The judges apparently never read McDonald and Heller based on the contorted conclusions they reach.
They should be removed from office and hanged for treason and violating their oaths to defend the constitution.


Talking about how judges that issue opinions that you disagree with should be killed, makes lawful gun owners and gun rights advocates look a bit looney and is used as fodder for the anti-gun crowd. That being said what we need in this country is a mechanism whereby the lower courts are legally required to conform their decisions to precedents set by SCOTUS. I fail to see how the 7th circuit could issue a decision like this in light of the decisions in Heller and McDonald. Several Federal Circuit and Appellate courts, especially in gun hostile regions of the midwest… Read more »


Technically, lower courts are already obligated to rule according to precedent established by a higher court

Marine Gunner

Liberal activists, including judges, believe that it is not only their right to bastardize the Constitution and violate its most important tenets in the interest of promoting their politically correct, godless, anti-Anerican, internationalist, multiculturalist, socialist ideology, it is their moral responsibility. They believe that their politics trump our Constitutional rights. They believe that our Constitution is an antique document written by old, dead white men and has no right to dictate how our laws are written or enforced. I know that this sounds crazy but if you doubt it, just ask them. They will tell you. They don’t think we… Read more »

Ian McCloud

This is Illinois, so no surprise.