NRA Sues in Federal Court Over Illinois Ban on Semiautomatic Weapons


Assault style weapons are displayed for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply on January 16, 2013, in Springfield, Ill.  (AP Photo / Seth Perlman, Files)Assault style weapons are displayed for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply on January 16, 2013, in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo / Seth Perlman, Files)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois’ two-week ban on semi-automatic weapons bans “ubiquitous” firearms in “radical” defiance of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, a federal lawsuit filed by the National Fusiliers Association Tuesday affirmations.

The mighty NRA has joined a parade of gun rights activists seeking to lift the newly minted ban on dozens of rapid-fire handguns and long guns, as well as large-capacity magazines or accessories.

Democratic Governor JB Pritzker he signed the law on January 10 in response to the shooting of seven people at the 4th of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park where 30 were also injured. He said he believes the law will withstand judicial challenges to its constitutionality.

Two individual gun owners from Benton, nine miles (about 14 kilometers) northeast of St. Louis, are the lead plaintiffs in the NRA lawsuit, the second to be filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. They are joined by two Southern Illinois gun dealers and gun range operators, as well as a Connecticut-based shooting sports trade association.

The NRA motion finds that the US Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 Heller decision refuses to enforce any restrictions on “weapons in common use” today unless — according to another ruling last summer — there are are evidence of an “enduring American tradition” of restraint.

The Illinois law “takes the radical step of banning nearly all modern semi-automatic rifles, the most popular type of rifle in the country, owned by tens of millions of Americans,” the document said.

The 24 million AR-15 semi-automatic rifles in circulation in the United States far outnumber the 16 million Ford F-150 trucks, the nation’s top-selling vehicle, according to the lawsuit.

A similar constitutional challenge was filed last week in the southern district of Benton. It was featured by gun owners and gun rights advocacy groups.

Other lawsuits, filed in the southern Illinois county courts, challenge the legislative process for passing the law.

Plaintiffs in all suits are likely seeking Southern Illinois courts because of a stronger disposition toward Second Amendment rights. Guns are viewed far more favorably in central and southern Illinois, where there are larger populations of hunters and sport shooters, than in northern metropolitan areas, especially Chicago, which continues to battle deadly gun violence.

The NRA-backed lawsuit also argues that the law’s ban on high-capacity ammunition cartridges — no more than 10 rounds for rifles and 15 for handguns — and a long list of attachments and other accessories, is equally problematic because the weapons in question may not work without them, so the add-ons are constitutionally protected “firearms” by inference.

Pritzker and allies nationwide refer to handguns as “assault weapons.” The memoir notes the tradition of bearing arms and includes a glossary of terms. He explains that the limited semi-automatic weapons are not machine guns: ejection of each round requires a separate pull of the trigger.

He points out that detachable magazines date back to the Civil War and semi-auto power is a century old.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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