A three-judge panel from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declared last week that the Illinois legislation prohibiting so-called “assault weapons” is constitutional, which appears to contradict the Heller and Bruen Supreme Court judgments.
The Court consolidated various challenges to Illinois law into a single proceeding. Second Amendment supporters saw the three-judge panel as engaging in judicial advocacy. Several of the plaintiffs in the cases have now committed to taking the case to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
The “Protect Illinois Communities Act” (PICA) prohibited the sale of most semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. The rule also prohibited magazines with more than ten rounds from being carried. The legislation was a centerpiece of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s gun control strategy. Gov. Pritzker has been adamant about carrying out his proposal to restrict gun rights.
Pro-gun enthusiasts remain unwavering in their resolve to preserve their Second Amendment rights in the face of Illinois’ recent assault weapons prohibition. These activists will not back down from their unyielding confidence in the need for self-defense and individual liberty. The restriction, which prohibits the possession and sale of certain firearms, has sparked outrage among gun owners across the state.
According to pro-gun activists, such legislation unfairly targets law-abiding people who are simply practicing their constitutional rights. They contend that law enforcement overreach should not violate responsible gun ownership, which is a fundamental aspect of American culture. By threatening to take their case to the Supreme Court, these supporters seek legal redress to defend not only their own but also future generations’ rights.
The Illinois State Rifle Association is one of these organizations. The decision did not surprise Ed Sullivan, a lobbyist for the group. Democrats with a history of anti-gun legislation appointed all three justices. The group stated that it would appeal the verdict and would seek the Supreme Court to hear the matter. He predicted that the plaintiffs in the other cases would take a similar route.
AR-15s and other semiautomatic guns are not often used for authorized purposes, such as self-defense, according to the three-judge panel. The Court refused to recognize the numerous self-defense applications of modern sports rifles. A Federal District Judge in California discovered several instances of Americans employing semiautomatic firearms in self-defense. The District Judge, Roger Benitez, mentioned a pregnant woman who used an AR-15 to defend herself and her unborn child from intruders.
Even though the fight against the PICA is far from over, Gov. Pritzker celebrated with a victory lap. He claims that the legislation will save lives, even though criminals do not respect the law, and that only law-abiding citizens will do so.
“The Protect Illinois Communities Act is a commonsense law that will keep Illinoisans safe,” Gov. Pritzker said in a statement about the Court’s decision. “Despite constant attacks by the gun lobby that puts ideology over people’s lives, here in Illinois, we have stood up and said, ‘no more’ to weapons of war on our streets.”
The plaintiffs can request an en banc hearing, in which the entire bench hears the matter. The Court’s composition may make that a mammoth challenge. The groups might also approach SCOTUS directly, which would necessitate the high court issuing a writ of certiorari, indicating that they will hear the issue. If the Supreme Court hears the case, it might spell the end of this and other similar legislation across the country.