2A attorney Chuck Michel weighs in on IL gun ban, CA court cases

I’m always delighted when California Rifle & Pistol Association head and Second Amendment attorney Chuck Michel is able to carve out a few minutes to join me on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, though I never feel like we’ve got enough time to fully delve into all of the cases that he’s involved in around the country. On today’s program we’re starting with what’s going on in Illinois, where the Seventh Circuit declined on Tuesday to overrule a U.S. District Court decision denying a temporary injunction against the state’s newly-enacted ban on so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines.


Michel says he’s not particularly concerned by the Seventh Circuit’s decision, noting that these types of requests for an emergency injunction face a high bar from the judiciary, particularly when the district court declined to halt enforcement of a particular statute. We saw the same thing with the Second Circuit in Antonyuk v. Hochul  a few months back as well, but as Michel points out the underlying cases will continue on a normal briefing schedule and the fight is far from over in New York.

The same is true in Illinois, where a different federal judge heard arguments for and against an injunction in four consolidated cases last week. Michel had high praise for U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn, who appeared highly skeptical of the arguments raised by the state in favor of the ban. Michel says it’s clear that McGlynn has spent some time around firearms, which meant that he was able to ask some pointed questions that may not have even occurred to other judges lacking that firsthand experience. Michel is highly optimistic that McGlynn will be deciding in favor of the gun owners and FFLs who are challenging the state’s new ban, and says he expects that those four cases and the Bevis case heard by U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall, who declined to issue a TRO blocking the law because (in her words) the guns and magazines prohibited by Illinois lawmakers are “unusually dangerous” items not protected by the Second Amendment.

Michel is also keeping a close eye on U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s courtroom out in California, where there are currently four cases pending his decision including Miller v. Bonta, a challenge to California’s ban on “assault weapons.” The last time Michel and I spoke back in early March Benitez had just received the last round of briefs in those cases, but so far the judge has been holding on to his opinions. I asked the CRPA head if that concerned him at all, but Michel’s take is that Benitez is well aware that his opinions are going to be dissected at length by both the Ninth Circuit and anti-gun politicians like Gov. Gavin Newsom, so he’s being thorough and deliberate in crafting his rulings.


Of all the gun bans that we discussed on today’s show, Michel believes it’s actually Maryland’s prohibition that is likely to reach the Supreme Court first. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Bianchi v. Brown (originally Bianchi v. Frosh) last December, and while the court doesn’t have any deadline to release its opinion Michel thinks that the judges will make their decision known in the not-too-distant future. Unless the Fourth Circuit kicks the case back down to district court for a complete do-over, once the court issues its opinion Bianchi can be appealed to the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs challenging the ban will undoubtably take that step if the Fourth Circuit rules against them, but Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown will have a tough decision to make if the court finds the state’s ban unconstitutional; does he appeal to the Supreme Court even though its likely a majority of the justices would agree that the ban violates the Second Amendment and risk a decision that will have national implications, or take the loss and keep an “assault weapons” case away from SCOTUS for as long as possible, or at least until the makeup of the Court changes to an anti-gun majority.

There’s much more to my conversation with Chuck Michel in the video window below, and I’d encourage you to watch and listen to all that Michel has to say. I’m looking forward to having Chuck back on the show once there’s been some movement on the cases we discussed today, and hopefully we won’t have too long to wait before we can bring him back to celebrate more victories for civil rights advocates and gun owners in blue states where their rights are under attack.


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