May 05, 2023
Enforcement of Illinois’ recently passed ban on so-called “assault weapons” and hundreds of other firearms has been blocked by a judge who ruled that the authors of the measure apparently didn’t take into account the text of the Second Amendment or important Supreme Court precedent. Last week, U.S. District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, issued a temporary injunction on the law, blocking the so-called Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) from taking effect. Recognizing that the law was hastily passed as a knee jerk reaction to a public mass murder last July 4, Judge McGlynn, in his court opinion, questioned the practice of making laws based on emotion following violent tragedies.
“As Americans, we have every reason to celebrate our rights and freedoms, especially on Independence Day,” Judge McGlynn wrote. “Can the senseless crimes of a relative few be so despicable to justify the infringement of the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals in hopes that such crimes will then abate or, at least, not be as horrific?
“More specifically, can PICA be harmonized with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and with Bruen? That is the issue before this Court. The simple answer at this stage in the proceedings is ‘likely no.’”
The judge also pointed out the fact that many within the Illinois law enforcement community have said they won’t enforce the measure, creating further problems for the unjust law.
“There is no evidence as to how PICA will actually help Illinois Communities,” Judge McGlynn wrote. “It is also not lost on this Court that the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and some Illinois State Attorneys believe PICA unconstitutional and cannot, in good conscience, enforce the law as written and honor their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution.”
Interestingly, the court decision was quite critical of the unusually lame arguments made by the state to uphold the law.
“Defendants first argued that PICA is consistent with historical tradition because ‘[n]either large capacity magazines nor assault weapons were in common use when the Second and Fourteenth Amendments were ratified.’” The court wrote that argument was “bordering on frivolous” since the Heller court ruled: “The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.”
As the future of the punitive law continues to be debated in the courtroom, embattled Illinois gun owners have increased firearms purchases as one way to fight back against the new ban and other restrictive Illinois laws. April 2023 saw 39,954 NICS background checks conducted in the Prairie State compared to 35,790 last April, an increase of nearly 12%.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years.
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