A judge tossed a Chicago suburb's "assault rifle" ban

Before you get too excited, this story is not going to wind up being some unexpected victory for the Second Amendment in Illinois. You’ve been warned in advance.


Still, you might take some consolation in the story of how the village of Deerfield Illinois attempted to pass their own version of an “assault weapons” ban. But it was challenged by a couple of local gun owners and a judge has issued a permanent injunction preventing the law from going into effect. (The Hill)

A judge in Illinois ruled Friday that the Chicago suburb of Deerfield did not have the authority to enact a ban on assault weapons.

Lake County Circuit Court judge Luis Berrones issued a permanent injunction blocking the measure from being enforced, finding that the gun owners who sued have “a clearly ascertainable right to not be subjected to a preempted and unenforceable ordinance,” The Chicago Tribune reported.

Deerfield officials said they are reviewing Berrones’s decision and may consider appealing the ruling to the Illinois Appellate Court, according to the Tribune.

“This unprecedented interpretation of state legislative action and intent make this case ripe for appeal,” village officials said in a statement.

This is primarily a local issue and we shouldn’t be looking for any groundbreaking precedent out of it. (Though it is good news for the locals, at least for now.) The law wasn’t struck down for being unconstitutional or infringing on the rights of gun owners. This was more of a legal technicality.

Back in 2013, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals forced the Illinois state government to rewrite their laws, making any so-called assault weapons ban a power vested with the state government. They gave individual towns, cities, and counties several months to enact such laws if they wished to and they would have been grandfathered. Deerfield failed to take advantage of that opportunity, so their new law was essentially banned under state supremacy considerations.


The ban would have applied to semiautomatic rifles, semiautomatic shotguns and semiautomatic pistols with detachable magazines that hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition. Residents of Deerfield owning such firearms would have been forced to remove them from the community or pay a fine of up to $1,000.00 per day. That’s a seriously draconian bill, and arguably even worse than anything in Chicago. But for now, it won’t be going into effect.

At some point, the Supreme Court may yet take up another serious Second Amendment case, particularly with the most recent new justices having been seated. If so, laws such as these may be a thing of the past. But for now, we’re largely stuck with the insufficient status quo.

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023