U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- A federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Illinois ban on semi-auto rifles and so-called “high capacity magazines” has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
In this case, SAF is joined by the Illinois State Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition, C4 Gun Store LLC, Marengo Guns, Inc. and a private citizen, Dane Harrel, for whom the case Harrel v. Raoul is named. Defendants are Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly, a trio of state’s attorneys and three county sheriffs. Plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Sigale of Wheaton, Ill.
It is the latest chapter in an unfolding drama that has—as previously reported—ignited a very public declaration by county sheriffs to not enforce the new law.
Plaintiffs are asking the federal court to declare the bans unconstitutional under the Second and Fourteenth amendments and they want the court to issue a permanent injunction against enforcement of the ban.
According to the complaint, filed late Tuesday, “The plain text of the Second Amendment covers the conduct the Plaintiffs wish to engage in because it ‘extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.’ By prohibiting Plaintiffs from possessing and carrying popular semiautomatic firearms and common ammunition magazines, Illinois has prevented them from ‘keeping and bearing Arms’ within the meaning of the Amendment’s text. As a result, ‘[t]o justify its regulation, the government . . . must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s tradition of firearm regulation.’
“Here, Defendants will not be able to demonstrate any such thing,” the lawsuit says.
According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “Illinois has banned the future sale, importation, purchase, delivery and manufacture of the most popular rifle in the United States, along with their standard capacity magazines. People who already own such firearms must now register their guns with the State Police. This ban violates the constitutional rights of Illinois gun owners, and we intend to prove it in court.”
The Prairie State is not the only gun rights battleground. Oregon’s restrictive Measure 114, which also bans so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” is being challenged by four federal lawsuits and one state-level action. Enforcement of the measure is currently on hold.
In neighboring Washington State, a public hearing was held Tuesday in Olympia, where Democrats in the state House of Representatives want to ban so-called “assault weapons.” This is the follow-up to last year’s passage of a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
The Washington State Sheriffs’ Association has issued a letter in which it states, “Restrictions that shift focus from offenders to law abiding citizens send the wrong message and erode constitutional guarantees upheld by the United States Supreme Court. ‘Magazine bans’ like the one passed by Washington’s legislature last year have already been ruled unconstitutional by the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and mandated annual background checks to possess firearms are also under challenge.”
The letter, signed by WSSA President Sheriff Clay Myers of Kittitas County, further notes, “We are particularly concerned with the proposed so-called ‘assault weapons ban’ and ‘permit to purchase’ laws.”
Another lawsuit has been filed against the new Illinois gun ban law, but this one was filed in the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial District in Effingham County, making it a state-level challenge. That lawsuit was filed by attorney Thomas DeVore, a former Republican candidate for the Illinois State Attorney General’s office.
SAF’s 26-page federal complaint notes, “AR-15 rifles are among the most popular firearms in the nation, and they are owned by millions of Americans. A recent survey of gun owners indicates that about 24.6 million Americans have owned AR-15 or similar modern semiautomatic rifles, with the “median owner” identified as owning a single rifle.” It estimates that approximately 20 percent of all firearms sold in recent years in the United States are rifles of the type banned by the Illinois law.
The Illinois lawsuit also states, “There is no historical tradition of prohibiting the manufacture, importation, or sale of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. Magazine bans were unknown in the United States before the 20th century. Bans like Illinois’ are recent phenomena—indeed, until enactment of the Magazine Ban, Illinois did not restrict manufacturing, transferring, possessing, or using magazines of any capacity.”
Commenting on the case, SAF’s Gottlieb observed, “Anti-gun politicians tout this sort of legislation,” Gottlieb observed, “while they know it really won’t accomplish anything beyond creating the false public impression they are making the community safer. No neighborhood, no city and no state ever became safer by restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
- Illinois Gov. Pritzker FURIOUS as Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Gun Law
- Oregon Gun Control Measure 114 Remains on Hold
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