U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Illinois Assault Weapons Ban

A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines enacted by the state of Illinois in the wake of the 2022 mass shooting in Chicago's Highland Park suburb that left seven dead and dozens injured.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit voted 2-1 to strike down the bans imposed by lower courts in one set of cases targeting gun restrictions and affirmed the decision to leave the laws intact in another set of cases.

The appellate decision also upheld several similar local laws in Illinois.

The Democratic-backed state measure bans the sale and distribution of a variety of high-powered semiautomatic "assault weapons," including AK-47 and AR-15 rifles and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents challenged the measure on the grounds that it violated an individual's right to "keep and bear arms" under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The appellate panel held that, like other constitutionally protected freedoms, the Second Amendment right to bear arms is subject to certain limitations that the government can lawfully impose.

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Illinois Assault Weapons Ban

In its reasoning in favor of the Illinois law, the appellate panel cited a U.S. Supreme Court opinion from last year that struck down New York's restrictions on carrying concealed handguns outdoors.

In that case, a conservative majority of the Supreme Court laid out a new legal test for gun restrictions, saying they must be "consistent with the nation's historical tradition of gun control" to pass.

Judge Diane Wood, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote Friday in the Seventh Circuit that supporters of the Illinois gun law are "likely to prevail" in further litigation given the "tools of history and tradition." The Supreme Court instructed us in the New York case and in a similar challenge in the District of Columbia."

Justice Frank Easterbrook, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, joined Wood's majority opinion. Justice Michael Brennan, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, dissented.

In August, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the assault weapons ban in a separate case in state court, rejecting arguments that the law violated the state constitution by not applying equally to all citizens.

Late last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that California's assault weapons ban remains in effect, while the state's attorney general appealed a lower court ruling declaring the 30-year-old measure unconstitutional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *