BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation on Friday scored a significant victory in its campaign to “win firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time,” when a federal judge in Illinois granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of that state’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.”
The case is known as Harrel v. Raoul. Joining SAF in this case are the Illinois State Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition. Marengo Guns, the C4 Gun Store and Dane Harrel, for whom the case is known. They are represented by attorney David Sigale of Wheaton, Ill. The case is in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Judge Stephen P. McGlynn presiding. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” (PICA).
“While this may only be the end of ‘Round One’,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “it’s certainly a good start in putting an end to a law we are convinced is entirely unconstitutional.”
The Illinois ruling comes just three days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill banning so-called “assault weapons” in his state, for which SAF promptly filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle. The veteran gun rights advocate is hopeful the Illinois ruling is a “great omen.”
“This lawsuit against Illinois’ so-called assault weapons ban is one of eight Second Amendment Foundation legal challenges against unconstitutional semiautomatic gun ban laws across the country,” Gottlieb added.
“There is no question that Plaintiffs are harmed by PICA,” Judge McGlynn wrote in his 29-page ruling, “and will continue to be harmed if this Court denies the motion for preliminary injunction. A constitutional right is at stake. Some Plaintiffs cannot purchase their firearm of choice, nor can they exercise their right to self-defense in the manner they choose. They are bound by the State’s limitations.”
Later in his decision, Judge McGlynn added, “In no way does this Court minimize the damage caused when a firearm is used for an unlawful purpose; however, this Court must be mindful of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. While PICA was purportedly enacted in response to the Highland Park shooting, it does not appear that the legislature considered an individual’s right under the Second Amendment nor Supreme Court precedent.”
“There is some remarkably strong language in Judge McGlynn’s ruling supporting the right to keep and bear arms,” SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut observed. “The Illinois statute is harmful to all plaintiffs in this case, and we are delighted the judge handed down this ruling in such a prompt manner. We can now move forward.”