A federal court in Illinois has stopped the implementation of the state’s assault weapons prohibition.
On Friday, Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) was put on hold while a case is ongoing by a preliminary injunction issued by Judge Stephen P. McGlynn of the Southern District of Illinois. McGlynn determined that the statute most likely violates the Second Amendment along with Supreme Court precedents established in the Heller and Bruen cases.
“Can the heinous acts of a relatively small number be so abhorrent as to justify the violation of the constitutional rights of law-abiding people in the hopes that such acts will then cease or, at least, not be as horrifying?” McGlynn penned the piece. “In particular, can PICA be reconciled with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Bruen? That is the question before the Court. At this point in the proceedings, the simple answer is ‘likely no.'”
“In Bruen and Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that citizens retain a constitutional right to possess and own firearms for self-defense,” he said. “PICA appears to have been written in defiance of Bruen and Heller’s clear directives, rather than in accordance with them. No state, no matter how well-intentioned, smart, or arrogant, may pass legislation that denies its inhabitants rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Even legislation that has the backing of the majority of its citizens has to fail if it violates fellow citizens’ constitutional rights.”
First, McGlynn concluded that the law’s ban on “non-essential accessories” on guns, like threaded barrels, arm braces, barrel shrouds, and flash suppressors, as well as limitations on 15-round pistol magazines, were unconstitutional. The state supported the regulation by claiming that because such attachments are not required for the operation of a weapon, they’re not “arms” under the Second Amendment.
According to McGlynn, the Second Amendment “has been recognized as extending to corollaries to the significant exercise of the basic right of owning firearms for self-defense.” “It’s difficult to imagine anything more closely related to the right to employ a firearm in self-defense than the ability to load ammunition into the firearm effectively.” This Court agrees that magazines constitute ‘weapons’ in the sense of the plain wording of the Second Amendment.”
The judge also determined that barring attachments such as arm braces without exceptions interferes with those with disabilities’ right to use weapons. Stabilizing braces are required for handicapped people to handle weapons, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, weapons, and Explosives. As a result, the statute fails to withstand scrutiny under the Second Amendment. Additionally, accessories that improve firearm proficiency, such as pistol grips as well as flash suppressors, are protected. The court also determined that attachments, high-capacity magazines, and “assault rifles” like as AR-15s and AK-47s are protected under “common use” since millions of them are in circulation.
McGlynn noted that the injunction does not yet exclude the law’s application on the merits, saying, “The Court recognizes that the issues with which it faces are extremely contentious and provoke powerful emotions. There is nothing in this order that prevents the State from dealing with firearm-related violence. There are several civil and criminal regulations that allow for the arrest and prosecution of persons who use or may use weapons to conduct crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors must take their responsibilities to uphold these laws seriously. Concerning conduct should be reported by families and the general public. Judges should use caution when convicting persons who constitute a danger to the public and issuing sentences that punish, rather than just inconvenience, those who commit firearm-related offences.”