Law & the Courts

Judge Blocks Chicago Suburb’s Assault-Weapons Ban

An employee demonstrates gun safety to clients at the Los Angeles gun club. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

A Circuit Court judge has blocked the enforcement of a ban on assault-style weapons passed in the city of Deerfield, Ill.

The judge on Tuesday granted a temporary injunction against the Chicago suburb preventing enforcement of the law, which would have levied fines of up to $1,000 per day on residents who failed to turn over banned weapons, a list that includes nearly all semi-automatic rifles and a number of handguns and shotguns. The ordinance was set to go into effect Wednesday, after which residents would have been given 60 days to remove offending weapons from the city.

A number of pro-Second Amendment groups filed suit after the ban was passed in the wake of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives in Parkland, Fla. on Valentine’s Day. The Illinois State Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Deerfield resident Daniel Easterday filed one challenge to the ordinance, while the NRA-backed Guns Save Lives filed another.

“This ruling is a significant victory because it allows law-abiding Deerfield residents to keep commonly owned firearms and magazines in their homes for self-defense while the case proceeds,” John Boch, executive director of Guns Save Life, said in a statement. “We are gratified by the court’s decision and the careful attention to the law that it reflects.”

The suit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation claims that the ordinance violates an Illinois state law, passed in 2013, which prohibits localities from passing their own gun laws absent approval from the state legislature.

“We moved swiftly to challenge this gun ban because it flew in the face of state law,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the group, said in a statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon. “The village tried to disguise its extremism as an amendment to an existing ordinance. The ordinance bans possession of legally-owned semi-auto firearms, with no exception for guns previously owned, or any provision for self-defense. Worse, still, the ordinance also provided for confiscation and destruction of such firearms and their original capacity magazines.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association said Wednesday that it will now seek a permanent injunction. Deerfield officials said they are still deciding whether to appeal the decision.

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