The gun-banning strategy of the village of Deerfield, Illinois, to outlaw semi-automatic firearms, which it calls “assault weapons,” as well as “large-capacity magazines,” has failed yet again.
This time, the failure resulted from the ruling of a state appellate court, which Deerfield’s politicians had asked to overturn a lower court’s permanent injunction against the city’s unconstitutional anti-gun ordinance. The higher court said it didn’t have jurisdiction, so the lower court’s ruling stands.
“This effectively shuts down any further effort by the Deerfield administration to encumber law-abiding citizens in the community who own the kinds of legal firearms city officials want to ban,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “We were delighted to once again be working with our good friends at the Illinois State Rifle Association. Together with David Sigale, we make a pretty good team.
“But this was always about much more than teamwork,” he explained. “We’re talking about the right of honest citizens to live without fear of suddenly being turned into criminals by an overzealous government that arbitrarily decides to prohibit possession of a perfectly legal firearm, purchased in accordance with applicable state and federal laws, because of political correctness.”
The ruling came from the Second District Court that dismissed Deerfield’s attempt to challenge a previously issued permanent injunction against the town’s bans.
SAF was joined in the case by the Illinois State Rifle Association – its partner in the landmark 2010 U.S. Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago – on behalf of Deerfield resident Daniel Easterday.
The plaintiffs were represented by Glen Ellyn attorney David Sigale.
“Constitutionally protected rights cannot be subjected to the extremism of social justice crusades,” Gottlieb said. “It should take more than the mere stroke of a pen to criminalize something so much a part of the American fabric as the legal ownership and possession of firearms that are in common use.
“This is just one more chapter in SAF’s effort to win back firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time,” he said.
The permanent injunction had been announced only months ago, by a judge who torpedoed the town’s plan to not just regulate some guns, but to confiscate and destroy them.
Gottlieb noted the village’s ban was described by officials as an amendment to an ordinance that was adopted a few years ago regarding gun regulation.
But 19th Judicial Circuit Judge Luis A. Berrones issued the order preventing its implementation.
“The gun ban ordinance contained language that would have allowed confiscation and destruction of so-called ‘assault weapons’ and their original capacity magazines, and levy fines of up to $1,000 a day against anyone who refused to surrender their guns,” SAF explained.
The complaint SAF filed last year pointed out that a 2013 amended state statute declares “the regulation of the possession or ownership of assault weapons are exclusive powers and functions of this state.”
Further, it states that 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.”
Gottlieb said the town simply tried to impose its own new law.
Deerfield had defined as weapons it intended to destroy as “a semiautomatic rifle, pistol, or shotgun that has the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition plus another feature(s) defined in the ordinance.”
That includes the common AR-15 rifle.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that citizens have a constitutional right to keep a handgun in their home for self-protection, and the court extended those rights to the states in 2010.