Seventh Circuit keeps IL "assault weapons" ban in place, but more challenges are pending

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

We’ll be talking more about Illinois on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co with Second Amendment attorney Chuck Michel, who’s the lead attorney in one of the federal lawsuits taking on the state’s ban on “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines. While U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn heard arguments last week in Michel’s case and several others, there’s another lawsuit percolating in federal court dealing with both the state prohibition as well as a local ban on “assault weapons” imposed by the city of Naperville.


U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall previously ruled against gun store owner Robert Bevis and the National Association of Gun Rights in their request to halt enforcement of the local and state statutes, declaring that “[b]ecause assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons and high-capacity magazines are particularly dangerous weapon accessories, their regulation accords with history and tradition. Naperville and Illinois lawfully exercised their authority to control their possession, transfer, sale, and manufacture by enacting a ban on commercial sales.”

It’s a decision that flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s “text, history, and tradition” test laid out in Bruen, but for now the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is siding with Kendall and keeping both the local and state bans in place.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request for an injunction by Robert Bevis, a firearms store owner in Naperville, while he appeals a ruling by U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall that found the ban “constitutionally sound.”

Bevis sought the injunction last month, asking the appeals court to block the ban for himself and anyone else affected by the law.

… Bevis’ lawyers claimed his business, Law Weapons & Supply, had suffered because of the ban and may have to close because it could not sell the popular guns.

In her ruling, Judge Kendall reasoned that “because assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons … their regulation accords with history and tradition.”

Attorneys for Bevis have cited earlier Supreme Court rulings that weapons must be found to be “dangerous and unusual” to be banned. Because assault-style rifles are “commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” they can’t be banned because they are “not unusual,” they argued.


Based on the questions and some statements made by Judge McGlynn during last week’s hearing, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he and Kendall reach very different conclusions about the constitutionality of the “assault weapons” ban signed into law by Pritzker back in January. McGlynn seemed extremely skeptical of the state’s argument, and his closing remarks indicated that he doesn’t view a gun ban as a particularly effective tool to combat violent crime and mass shootings.

The Seventh Circuit previously upheld bans on so-called assault weapons before the Bruen decision was handed down, so Tuesday’s decision, which was released without comment by any judges, isn’t entirely unexpected, even if it is disappointing. We’ll see what Michel thinks about the news and how it might impact the cases that are pending before McGlynn coming up this afternoon on Cam & Co, and we’ll be digging into a number of court challenges to California gun control laws that are awaiting action by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez as well.


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