Federal Judge Enjoins Illinois’ Assault Weapon Ban

In a major victory for gun rights advocates, U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn has granted a preliminary injunction of Illinois’ ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The decision comes after two other district courts ruled in favor of the law — sending this issue to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and potentially the Supreme Court.  These long-awaited challenges will test the Democratic calls for removing all AR-15s and similar weapons, including calls from President Joe Biden.

I have previously raised doubts over some of these laws, which are based on questionable factual claims and distinctions between weapons. Indeed, President Biden has made dubious constitutional and historical claims about the Second Amendment and AR-15s.

Illinois and New York have previously supplied gun rights advocates with huge victories by drafting facially unconstitutional laws. Moderate efforts at gun control are often ramped up in the legislative process to become more and more sweeping.

McGlynn recognized that gun bans are popular in states like Illinois but noted that “even legislation that may enjoy the support of a majority of its citizens must fail if it violates the constitutional rights of fellow citizens.”

The court tackles the argument made by many gun control advocates that states can ban “non-essential accessories” like magazines because they are not themselves “arms” under the Second Amendment.

PICA outlaws possession of a “semiautomatic pistol” with a detachable magazine if it is equipped with any of the following: “a threaded barrel,” “a shroud attached to the barrel or that partially or completely encircles the barrel,” “a flash suppressor,” or “arm brace.” PICA further outlaws possession of a magazine for a handgun capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition and of “[a] semiautomatic pistol that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 15 rounds.” Defendants contend that such items are not necessary to the functioning of a firearm and are thus not “arms” and therefore not protected by the Second Amendment.

Defendants’ argument is not persuasive. The Seventh Circuit has recognized the Second Amendment as extending to “corollar[ies] to the meaningful exercise of the core right to possess firearms for self-defense.” It is hard to imagine something more closely correlated to the right to use a firearm in self-defense than the ability to effectively load ammunition into the firearm. The Third Circuit recognized the importance of this corollary and held that “a magazine is an arm under the Second Amendment.”

McGlynn also stated that it is “bordering on the frivolous” to claim that neither large capacity magazines nor assault weapons are protected because they were not in common use when the Second Amendment was ratified. He cited the long-standing rule that “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.”

The court also rejected the claim that the standard is whether a weapon was in common use for self-defense:

Bruen clearly holds that the Second Amendment protects “possession and use” of weapons “in common use” not just weapons in common use for self-defense as Defendants’ argued. Even if there was a requirement that the “common use” of an “arm” be self-defense, AR-15 style rifles would meet such a test considering that 34.6% of owners utilize these rifles for self-defense outside of their home and 61.9% utilize them for self-defense at home.

The court further noted that large capacity magazines are commonly owned and used by sporting enthusiasts and there are more AR-15s than F150s in this country.

Judge McGlynn also noted that these weapons are commonly used for self-defense and that there are up to 2.5 million instances each year in which civilians used firearms for home defense. He added:

“In no way does this Court minimize the damage caused when a firearm is used for an unlawful purpose; however, this Court must be mindful of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. While PICA was purportedly enacted in response to the Highland Park shooting, it does not appear that the legislature considered an individual’s right under the Second Amendment nor Supreme Court precedent. Moreover, PICA did not just regulate the rights of the people to defend themselves; it restricted that right, and in some cases, completely obliterated that right by criminalizing the purchase and the sale of more than 190 “arms.” Furthermore, on January 1, 2024, the right to mere possession of these items will be further limited and restricted Accordingly, the balance of harms favors the Plaintiffs.

The Court recognizes that the issues with which it is confronted are highly contentious and provoke strong emotions. Again, the Court’s ruling today is not a final resolution of the merits of the cases. Nothing in this order prevents the State from confronting firearm-related violence. There is a wide array of civil and criminal laws that permit the commitment and prosecution of those who use or may use firearms to commit crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors should take their obligations to enforce these laws seriously. Families and the public at large should report concerning behavior. Judges should exercise their prudent judgment in committing individuals that pose a threat to the public and imposing sentences that punish, not just lightly inconvenience, those guilty of firearm-related crimes.”

Here is the opinion: 2023-04-28-Order-Granting-MPI


94 thoughts on “Federal Judge Enjoins Illinois’ Assault Weapon Ban”

  1. The strongest argument being made for large capacity magazines is being made not by the NRA or other Second Amendment supporters but by young thugs banded together in mobs — taking over small businesses, city intersections, even private residences. Progressive idiots, who actually believed it possible to excuse one level of criminality (e.g. individual shoplifting) without guaranteeing it spawning the next level (mobs of shoplifters) and the next (mobs of armed robbers), have treated law-abiding Americans to a horror show of mayhem not soon forgotten, leaving this nation more armed than ever.

  2. The recent killijng of five people, inlcucing a child, in Cleveland, Texs was apparently committed by a Mexicant national who had been deported on three previous occasions. https://www.breitbart.com/border/2023/04/30/exclusive-mexican-migrant-wanted-for-murder-of-five-hondurans-deported-3-times-says-texas-sheriff/
    This fact, if true, suggests that he was illegally in this country at the time of the attack, and that the tragedy could have been avoided by the Biden administration enforcing our immigration laws.

  3. Jonathan: What else was in the news this week you apparently missed? Brian Kolfage, a decorated US Air Force veteran, was sentenced on Wednesday to over 4 years in prison for admittedly helping Steve Bannon in a scheme to defraud donors to the “We Build the Wall” campaign–a project Trump supported to build a wall along the US-Mexican border. Andrew Badolato, another Bannon associate, got 3 years. Prosecutors accused Kolfage of using $350,000 of illicit donations on boat payments, jewelry and cosmetic surgery. The Judge in the case also ordered Kolgage to forfeit $17.9 million and pay $2.9 million in restitution.

    Steve Bannon escaped accountability because Trump, as one of his last acts in office, pardoned Bannon for his crimes. Bannon still faces NY state money laundering and campaign charges over the wall under an indictment from–you guessed right–Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg!

    It seems you can run from justice in NY but you can’t hide. Trump’s criminal syndicate is finally unraveling before our very eyes. And not a moment too soon!

  4. The interesting thing is that this is a TRO until the case is heard out.
    Already the state wants to appeal the decision.
    Yet the argument of the TRO is that there is a likelihood that the plaintiff will win and that there is damage in the law.

    Now the judge raised Bruen and Heller in his arguments.
    Note that McDonald was short circuited because they did a cut out and kept pistols w slides. Even though most mass shootings are done w these firearms and more in Chicago using pistols than all of the mass shootings using a rifle in one year. (Over 23 mass shootings in Chicago alone in 2022.)

    The interesting thing is the damage.
    Here’s an article in the Trib that kind of covers the welcomed backlash…

    In the article there’s a quote :
    Eldridge, who is also president of Federal Firearm Licensees of Illinois, called the ownership of military-use rifles, like M-16s, with AR-15s, a “constitutionally protected activity.” He said many gun owners have lost over half their revenue since the bill was signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this year.
    Note that in IL its illegal for a citizen to own an M-4/M-16 which are select fire rifles used by the military.

    That would most likely kill their appeal.

  5. If a pistol brace is a regulated item, like a bump stock a michine gun, then how is a magazine not part of a firearm.

    1. Bumpstock ban got overturned.
      Braces will be and the Magazine is also considered a firearm thus protected. Read the judge’s ruling.


  6. Jonathan: Did you catch the WH Correspondents’ Dinner last night? Pres. Biden was in rare form with a number of funny quips. Here’s one: “It’s great that cable news networks are here tonight, MSNBC owned by NBC Universal, Fox News owned by Dominion Voting Systems”. Biden finished his speech by putting on a pair of dark glasses–a la “Go Brandon!”.

    It was nice to see a President actually show up at the dinner. During his 4 years in office Trump never once showed up. We all know why. The last and only time Trump attended the dinner was in 2011. At the time Trump was toying with the idea of running and was pushing his Obama “birther” conspiracy theories. Obama had just released his Hawaii long-form birth certificate before the dinner. At the dinner Obama poked fun at Trump who was sitting there hardly smiling. Obama joked: “No one is happier–no one is prouder–to put the birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?” The roasting clearly did not appeal to the Trumpster.

    So we know why Trump never attended another Correspondents’ dinner. He likes to dish it out but he cant’s take it when it is directed at him. The true sign of a narcissist.

    1. Dennis – Showing up at the WH Correspondent’s Dinner would have been a sign of respect for the press. Deservedly, Trump felt no respect for a group that was pushing a defamatory hoax about him, i.e. Russiagate. And talking about Obama, we now know that Obama was all-in on creating and pushing the Russiagate hoax, much to the damage of the country.

  7. Its time for a law holding legislators financially responsible for pushing and voting for illegal gun control measures. For too long they use processes to push for illegal laws which violate the constitutional rights of citizens knowing it takes years for the courts to respond.
    For those that think ridding law abiding citizens of their right to protect themselves, I say I have a one way bus ticket for you to a block in the south side of Chicago for you to visit.

    1. @Golden,

      Can’t. I mean I’ve thought about it.
      They have immunity and you can’t sue the state for the damages.
      And the taxpayer foots the bill.

      These laws were pushed thru with the intent to cause harm to the gun stores and harass legal gun owners. Like the gun registry.
      SCOTUS will have to quash the entire bill , not just gut most of it.

      That’s what they are counting on.
      But if you look at the long game… if SCOTUS trashes the IL AWB… it will in effect kill all of them in other states.
      It will kill the local ordinances on magazines too.


  8. Let’s start with…use a gun, regardless whether or not you pull the trigger, in the commission of a crime, you go to prison

  9. This is a great victory for the millions of American men and women who use their semi-automatic firearms for lawful purposes every day!

  10. Well shiver me timbers. Yesterday Dennis McIntyre didn’t give a damn about Antifa carrying AR-15s and today he is concerned about an AR-15 being used in a mass shooting. Dennis also doesn’t care that seventy percent of black murders are committed by black people . Dennis, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t buy into your phony sentiment. Why have I never read any post by you bringing more attention to black on black crime. Sorry, silly question. Why would I think that you would say anything against your brothers in arms? Phony sentiment sure has a bad smell.

    1. Thinkitthrough: Actually, I do care about alleged Antifa adherents carrying around AR-15 style weapons. But I don’t recall seeing Antifa shooting and murdering school children–do you? Your racist tropes about “black on black crime” reveal your own “phony sentiment”. Do you really care about how many Black people kill each other? You are a hypocrite!

      Now, if you look at the recent mass shootings who are those committing mass murder and what is their weapon of choice? Highland Park, Illinois where a white man killed 7 and wounded 30; Uvalde, Texas where an 18 yr old white man killed 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School; Buffalo, New York where a white racist mowed down 10 Black people. In all these cases AR-15 style guns were used.

      I think AR-15 style guns should be banned–whoever owns them. This weapon is good for only one thing–killing a lot of people in short order. If I wanted a gun for self defense in my home I would have a short barrel shotgun. More effective and you don’t have to aim. I have a next door neighbor who is a deer hunter. He goes out every season and brings back one kill. His wife packs a large freezer with the meat that they BBQ in the summer. My neighbor uses an old Remington long rifle with a scope. I asked him one time: “Why don’t you use an AR-15?” His eyes rolled back and he said: “No self-respecting hunter would use that gun. Besides, it would ruin the meat”. I responded: How about giving the deer guns–you know–to make it a fair fight?” My neighbor was not amused by my attempted humor.

      Making AR-15 style guns readily available is great for the gun manufacturers and the NRA. But it is a recipe for more mass shootings. Is that what you endorse? Do you really think the “right to bear arms” includes the ability to murder young children? Or, do you think the mass murder of innocent civilians is just “collateral damage”–the price we have to pay to keep our “freedoms”?

        1. David B Benson: So what’s your point? That more hunters should use AR-15s to get rid of the the deer over-population? Now that’s insanity! We have a lot of deer in my area. We have woods and a creek behind our house. They come right up to the house and eat apples off our apple tree. Should I get an AR-15 and shoot them as well?

          1. From which body of law do levels of government derive the power to regulate hunting. Is there anything at all that government cannot do? Funny, seems like the Founders provided maximal rights and freedoms to individuals and threw off oppressive and tyrannical government and the dictatorship of the monarchy, only to have Karl Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” conquer America and rule by illicit, unconstitutional decree, again with the Lincolnesque “gun to America’s head.”

      1. Uhm you sure the shooter in TN wasn’t an ANTIFA member?

        Eh Denise?

        And you still have no clue when trying to discuss this topic.

        Oh and that TX Sgt. who was found guilty… the ANTIFA carrying his AK shouldered the weapon and also there was a video of him talking openly about brandishing the gun and harassing people.


      2. I think AR-15 style guns should be banned–whoever owns them. This weapon is good for only one thing–killing a lot of people in short order.

        And that will guarantee that those like the Crips, the mafia, and MS-13 will control the market for AR-15 style rifles.

Leave a Reply