HB5471, the recently passed, then halted by injunction, assault weapons ban for the state of Illinois, is back on again, after the 7th Circuit court’s review. Firearms Policy Coalition filed for an injunction in late April to halt the clearly unconstitutional ban, and it was granted by federal district judge Steven McGlynn, who noted that “The Supreme Court in Bruen and Heller held that citizens have a constitutional right to own and possess firearms and may use them for self-defense,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “[The ban] seems to be written in spite of the clear directives in Bruen and Heller, not in conformity with them.” This resulted in the law not going into effect, giving citizens of IL more time to purchase banned items, and hope that the law might never go into effect at all.
In spite of this, the 7th Circuit has reversed McGlynn’s decision, meaning HB5471, the IL AWB, is now law –an HB5471 FAQ provided by the state of IL is located here–. Of note, one of the judges comprising the 7th Circuit panel held in 2015 that “If a ban on semi‐automatic guns and large‐capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.” This kind of interest-balancing argument was specifically called out by Bruen as invalid, and it has to be stated that eliminating a fundamental right to reduce *perceived* risk, in order to make the public *feel* safer is absurd. Perception is not reality, and feeling is not being, as any functional adult should be able to explain, but regardless, the argument is legally moot according to SCOTUS.
This is not the first time anti-gun legislators and judges have actively ignored the Bruen decision, flouting the highest court in the land in the process, and it won’t be the last. While this is infuriating, especially for IL residents, if we take the long view, we have to admit that watching the gun-banning forces paint themselves into a legal corner they won’t be able to escape from, forcing SCOTUS to make a far more definitive ruling about “Assault Weapons” is somewhat entertaining.
As legal challenges to bills similar to HB5471 in WA, OR, NY, and others continue to inch forward, consider donating to the organizations fighting these battles. They don’t have a blank check from the taxpayers like the states who pass these laws, knowing they are counter to the constitution and the Supreme Court’s very recent decisions, and need support from all of us. The gun rights you save may be your own.