Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois Gun Ban

AR15-Black White iStock-534364755
The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ban on so-called “assault weapons” and magazines in Illinois. SAF is joined by the Illinois State Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition and other plaintiffs. IMG iStock-534364755

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.

Leading the lawsuit is the Second Amendment Foundation, which has been challenging gun laws in Illinois for several years, including the landmark case of McDonald v. City of Chicago.

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.”


About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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Good. All AWB’s and magazine bans are entirely unconstitutional and must be struck down, and those politicians who pass them must be removed from office for pushing unconstitutional bills and infringing on citizens rights.


Just a moment ago, CNN interviewed a California legislator, asked: “What can you do against gun violence?” Typically, all you heard from him was talk about guns, red flag laws, restrictions etc. Don’t hold your breath anticipating stricter penal codes for criminal gun use, irresponsible gun handling or negligent storage in presence of obstreperous minors from this crowd. In reality, antis have no intention of getting to the roots of the issue. They’d rather deflect onto guns and gun owners, because this way, since they don’t want to do what is essential and obvious, they can PRETEND to do something… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Wass

that is called deflection, a psychological term that people use to take blame off themselves and put on others.
a good remedy would be to force politicians and lawmakers to prove that the laws they want to make would be considered constitutional before voting on them and enacting them.


You probably meant, “projection”. That’s the term used in criminology and psychiatry for the phenomenon you describe.


Judging if a bill IS constitutional — IS — the JOB of SCOTUS!! They have become SOOOO politicized, it is hard to see where some of them actually DO THEIR JOB! FEELINGS and WANTS have NOTHING to do with JUSTICE and the RIGHTS and FREEDOMS ENUMERATED and EXPLAINED in Our American Constitution!!!!!


Never interrupt your enemy while they are making a mistake, is what the left would say about you. You support turning our rights into a government privilege out of your fear. You want to do the same things that older folks have done to lower our rights, please have some honor and quit championing gun control, that is used against all of us, not just those you are scared of. You boomers and the law abiding nonsense over peaceable Citizens, is what just made pistol brace owners into felons, because of the conservatives bumpstock law. The law abiding part has… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by WeWereWarned

You need to reread my comment or you’re confusing me with another commenter. To be clear, I believe in gun laws that punish wrongdoers; law-abiding gun owners should be left alone. Moreover, America, like it or not, is a nation of laws and always will be. Lastly, I’ve never, in all my many comments on Ammoland, called for banning types of weapons, except for presence of real firearms on cinematic and theatrical sets,

Last edited 4 days ago by Wass

I called Illinois home when I was in the military. Retired and the wife wanted to go back. There were no jobs so we moved to Missouri. Best move we ever made!


Plenty of handguns, e.g. the Beretta 81 Cheetas that were imported in large number a couple years ago, do not have 10 round or less capacity magazines and I cannot imagine any way to permanently alter the magazines and keep them reliable and maintainable.
Section 103 of FOPA outlaws any new gun registry so IL should give up on that idea too.


Illinois already has gun registration, that is what permits to purchase and no private sales is designed to do. They will know what magazine the subjects of that state have from the permit checks or background checks.

They won’t know the quantity of magazines, but it will only take one to make a person no longerlaw abiding, and to conservatives that means they have no rights.

Last edited 5 days ago by WeWereWarned

Correction: Section 106 of FOPA.


It appears that other states are copying the anti-American banned list which the DemoKKKratic communist party of Maryland has. Wish Representatives in Maryland would have a backbone and go against these COMMIES!!!