An order issued on Friday by an East St. Louis federal judge has blocked the enforcement of Illinois’ ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons until the lawsuit challenging the controversial law is settled.
The law, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA), was set to be effective immediately following signature from Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) on January 10th of this year, as reported by CBS.
The law was pushed as a response to the mass shooting that occurred at a Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park, Illinois, which left seven dead and forty-eight others wounded, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. PICA itself prohibits the manufacture, sale, and possession of over 190 different types of firearms, as well as numerous grips, stocks, and attachments. The law goes even further to ban large-capacity magazines altogether.
Judge Stephen P. McGlynn, of the South District of Illinois, said that PICA is very likely to be found unconstitutional in trial given that it is a violation of Second Amendment rights. His 29-page opinion acknowledges that the law was passed with good intent in the wake of the Fourth of July shooting in Highland Park, but said that “senseless crimes of a relative few” cannot justify restricting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens, as reported by ABC7.
Judge McGlynn cited the Supreme Court case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Buren, saying that the Constitution guarantees an individual the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. He goes even further, questioning whether “PICA [can] be harmonized with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and with Bruen?” to which he claims that the answer is “likely no.”
McGlynns’ decision came less than a week after federal Judge Lindsay Jenkins of the Northern District of Illinois reached the exact opposite conclusion and denied the motion to halt the enforcement of the controversial law. Following Judge Jenkins’ decision, the plaintiffs of the case indicated they intended to appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The state of Illinois argued that the law is consistent with historical tradition because neither assault weapons nor large-capacity magazines were in common use when the Second and 14th Amendments were ratified. McGlynn countered, stating that the use of this argument was “bordering on the frivolous” because the Supreme Court has already said that the Second Amendment extends to firearms not in existence at the time of the drafting of the Constitution.
The law has already been in the hot seat with law enforcement within Illinois itself, with many law officials claiming they won’t even enforce the law. Many county sheriffs in Illinois, which are elected by the voters, have issued nearly identical statements announcing they have no intention of enforcing the law, as reported by The Bulwark.
Overall, it’s good to see this law being hotly contested in Illinois as it’s a clear breach of previously established Supreme Court precedents. PICA was pushed forth to haphazardly strip thousands of their constitutional rights. Some things may need to be changed but certainly not ones that breach the rights of American citizens.
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