Federal appeals court upholds Illinois gun ban

November 6, 2023

Last year saw the state of Illinois pass a wide ranging gun ban known as the "Protect Illinois Communities Act" that targeted many commonly owned semiautomatic weapons.

While gun rights advocates challenged the law on constitutional grounds, a federal court shut them down last week by ruling that it can remain in effect.

Court says limits can be placed on guns "designed for military or law-enforcement"

According to the Associated Press, that decision came down this past Friday from a three-judge panel of the 7th District U.S. Court of Appeals.

In a majority opinion authored by the Clinton-appointed Judge Diane Wood, the court focused on the law's distinction between firearms intended for general ownership and those it reserves for "trained professionals."

"There is a long tradition, unchanged from the time when the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution, supporting a distinction between weapons and accessories designed for military or law-enforcement use and weapons designed for personal use," Wood wrote.

Friday's ruling came after the Illinois Supreme Court rejected a similar constitutional challenge by a four to three vote this past August.

Legislation bans numerous guns, limits magazine size

Under the Protect Illinois Communities Act's provisions, dozens of rifle and handgun models are prohibited as are firearms chambered for .50 caliber ammunition. The law also limits magazine capacity.

Those who current owner banned weapons are allowed to retain their firearms provided that they registered them with the state.

The Associated Press noted that Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statement welcoming the federal court's ruling.

"The Protect Illinois Communities Act is a commonsense law that will keep Illinoisans safe," Pritzker declared. "Despite constant attacks by the gun lobby that puts ideology over people’s lives, here in Illinois we have stood up and said 'no more' to weapons of war on our streets."

Gun lobbyist predicts Supreme Court will overturn law

Democratic state Rep. Bob Morgan authored the law, and he expressed support as well, stating, "This law has already prevented the sales of thousands of assault weapons and high capacity magazines in Illinois, making our state safer,"

"We must renew our calls for a nationwide ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines in order to make mass shootings a thing of the past," he added.

Ed Sullivan works as a lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association, and he told the Associated Press that last week's ruling was to be predicted given who is on 7th District U.S. Court of Appeals.

However, he predicted that the Protect Illinois Communities Act will be overturned if the case makes its way to the Supreme Court.

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Thomas Jefferson
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