CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — On Friday, a federal appeals court in Chicago upheld Illinois’ ban on 170 semi-automatic “assault-style” weapons.
The three-judge panel listened to arguments in late June and handed down a decision today in a case that was brought by the owner of a Naperville gun store.
Opponents argued the weapons were “common use” and therefore protected by the U.S. Constitution.
The judges sided with the State, finding that “even the most important personal freedoms have their limits.”
“Government may punish a deliberately false fire alarm; it may condition free assembly on the issuance of a permit; it may require voters to present a valid identification card; and it may punish child abuse even if it is done in the name of religion,” Judge Diane P. Wood said, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. “The right enshrined in the Second Amendment is no different.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act on January 10th in response to the shooting deaths of seven at the Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, where 30 were also injured.
“The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed what gun safety advocates have said from day one—the Protect Illinois Communities Act is a commonsense law that will keep Illinoisans safe,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Despite constant attacks by the gun lobby that puts ideology over people’s lives, here in Illinois we have stood up and said ‘no more’ to weapons of war on our streets. This is a victory for the members of the General Assembly who stood alongside families, students and survivors who worked so hard to make this day a reality. Now Congress must act so Illinois is not an island surrounded by states with weak protections.”
The law bans the sale or possession of more than 170 semi-automatic guns and requires current owners of the weapons to register with the state police by January 1st, 2024.
Proponents of the law have labeled the guns as “assault weapons,” but gun shop owners have argued that true assault weapons – those used by the U.S. military – are already illegal. They are fully automatic machine guns like the M16 and the AK47, which were banned by the federal government in 1986.