An Illinois circuit court judge on Tuesday blocked enactment of a ban on so-called “assault weapons” in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois literally hours before the ban was to take effect.
The Second Amendment Foundation, Illinois State Rifle Association and a private citizen named Daniel Easterday had filed suit against the town immediately after the council there had adopted the ban ordinance two months ago. Other gun rights groups also sued to block the ban.
SAF and ISRA had challenged the ban on the grounds that it violates the state’s preemption law that was adopted in 2013. That change amended state statute that declared “the regulation of the possession or ownership of assault weapons are exclusive powers and functions of this State. Any ordinance or regulation, or portion of that ordinance or regulation, that purports to regulate the possession or ownership of assault weapons in a manner that is inconsistent with this Act, shall be invalid…”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb recalled that when the ordinance was originally adopted, “We moved swiftly to challenge this gun ban because it flew in the face of state law.”
He noted that under the 2013 statute, there was a short grace period during which municipalities in the state could change or adopt their own gun laws, and Deerfield maintained that its ban was merely an amendment to an earlier ordinance that regulated firearms. The judge evidently disagreed.
“The village tried to disguise its extremism as an amendment to an existing ordinance,” Gottlieb said. “The ordinance would have banned possession of legally-owned semi-auto firearms, with no exception for guns previously owned, or any provision for self-defense.”
Deerfield had adopted the gun ban following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The new regulation didn’t just ban guns, it would have levied fines of up to $1,000 a day for violations, after a “grace period” that would have allowed gun owners time to move their affected firearms and so-called “high capacity magazines” out of the city. That period would have ended July 13, according to Vice News.
“It was outrageous that the ban would levy fines of up to $1,000 a day against anyone who refused to turn in their gun and magazines or move them out of the village,” Gottlieb said. “This certainly puts the lie to claims by anti-gunners that ‘nobody is coming to take your guns.’”
Plaintiffs were represented by Glen Ellyn attorney David Sigale.