Illinois State Rifle Association Files Lawsuit Challenging Assault Weapons Ban in Federal Court

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The Illinois State Rifle Association has filed a legal challenge to a new statewide ban on the sale of assault-grade firearms barely a week after Gov. J.B. Prtizker signed that order into law.

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The ISRA and other pro-2nd Amendment groups on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit claiming the ban “infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens” to possess such firearms and extended magazines “for the defense of self and family and other lawful purposes.”

“The State’s enactment, and Defendants’ enforcement, of the prohibition on common semiautomatic firearms, tendentiously and inaccurately labeled assault weapons, and on certain magazines arbitrarily deemed to be of ‘large capacity,’ denies individuals who reside in the State … their fundamental, individual right to keep and bear common arms,” the groups said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks to have the ban deemed unconstitutional and prevent state officials from enforcing it. Joining the ISRA in its legal challenge are the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Second Amendment Foundation, a St. Clair County resident and a pair of Illinois gun stores.

The legal challenge was not unexpected, as the ISRA said it planned to file suit shortly after Pritzker signed the ban into law. A pair of lawsuits have also already been filed in Effingham and Crawford county courts.

A number of county sheriffs across Illinois have also said they won’t fully enforce the new state law. 

Gun control groups had fought for a statewide ban for years, but gained momentum after the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park last summer that left seven people dead and dozens more injured.

The law bans dozens of specific gun models including AR-15s, a popular gun that critics say should not be considered military-grade. That’s one of the many arguments gun-rights groups said they will make in court.

Those who already own guns enumerated in the law can keep them, but they must register the serial numbers with the state. But many gun owners, including members of the General Assembly, said they won’t comply.

“The real problem is that there are existing gun laws that do not work because they are not enforced,” ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said in a statement. “We would all be much safer if the police had the resources they need, and there were stronger consequences for the non-law-abiding citizens.”

Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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