President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for new gun-control measures, most notably a ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons.
Biden says he wants to ban assault weapons, but his own ATF Director Steve Dettelbach can't even define what they are: "I'm not a firearms expert" pic.twitter.com/v50ElLnBG3
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 18, 2023
The federal government imposed such a restriction for about a decade beginning in 1994 and, despite the assertions of its leftist supporters, the evidence that it reduced violent crime was inconclusive at best.
While another nationwide ban is unlikely given the Republican Party’s majority in the House of Representatives, some states are pursuing their own restrictions.
In Illinois, the Protect Illinois Communities Act sought to prohibit the sale of firearms that fit the malleable definition of “assault weapons,” but the measure was almost immediately hit with a lawsuit contending that it is unconstitutional.
Last week, District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn handed down a decision that blocked implementation of the ban until an outcome is reached in the ongoing lawsuit.
Citing the Second Amendment along with a pair of Supreme Court decisions that upheld the right of individuals to own guns, the judge’s decision determined that the Illinois bill likely cannot be “harmonized” with established federal protections.
“The Supreme Court in Bruen and Heller held that citizens have a constitutional right to own and possess firearms and may use them for self-defense,” McGlynn wrote. “PICA seems to be written in spite of the clear directives in Bruen and Heller, not in conformity with them.”
Making it clear that constitutional rights outweigh all others, he wrote that no matter how “well-intentioned, brilliant, or arrogant” a state prohibition might be, the Constitution’s protections are sacrosanct, adding: “Even legislation that may enjoy the support of a majority of its citizens must fail if it violates the constitutional rights of fellow citizens.”
McGlynn also shot down the law’s ban on the sale of certain gun accessories, which state lawmakers determined would not violate the Constitution because the prohibited devices are not firearms.
Nevertheless, the judge found that prior court decisions “recognized the Second Amendment as extending to ‘corollar[ies] to the meaningful exercise of the core right to possess firearms for self-defense,” concluding that 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.”