NRA files lawsuit against Illinois assault weapons ban – NBC Chicago


Illinois’ two-week ban on semi-automatic weapons would ban firearms “everywhere” in a “radical” challenge to the Constitution’s Second Amendment, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the National Rifle Association.

The powerful NRA has joined the march of gun rights activists seeking to overturn a new ban on dozens of rapid-fire pistols and long guns, as well as large-capacity magazines and accessories.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation on January 10 in response to the July 4 parade in Highland Park, near Chicago, where seven people were killed and 30 injured. He said he believes the law will withstand legal challenges over its constitutionality.

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

The NRA’s argument is that the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 Heller decision refuses to allow any restrictions on “common-use weapons” to go into effect today unless there is evidence of an “enduring American tradition” of restrictions — unless a different ruling is found last summer.

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

The 24 million AR-15 semiautomatic rifles in circulation in the U.S. far outnumber the 16 million Ford F-150 trucks, the nation’s best-selling vehicle, according to the lawsuit.

A similar constitutional challenge was filed last week in southern Benton County. It was provided by gun owners and gun rights groups.

Other lawsuits filed in district courts in southern Illinois challenge the law’s legislative approval process.

Plaintiffs in all lawsuits can turn to southern Illinois courts because of their strong stance on Second Amendment rights. Compared to north metro areas, especially Chicago, which continues to struggle with fatal violence, central and southern Illinois, which has a larger population of hunters and sports shooters, is more gun-friendly.

The NRA-backed lawsuit also says the law’s ban on high-capacity cartridges — no more than 10 rounds for rifles and 15 for handguns — and the long list of attachments and accessories are equally problematic because the guns in question operate without them, so the attachments are by inference is a constitutionally protected “firearm”.

Pritzker and his allies nationally refer to firearms as “assault weapons.” The application mentions the tradition of bearing arms and includes a glossary of terms. He explains that limited-edition semi-autos are not machine guns—ejecting each cartridge requires a separate trigger pull.

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

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