By C.D. Michel
Monday was the deadline for the state defendants to file their reply briefs and to file amicus (friend of the court) briefs in several cases challenging Illinois’ “assault weapon” and standard capacity magazine bans in the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. The oral argument is scheduled for Thursday, 6/29, in Chicago.
Perhaps most prominent among the cases are four consolidated cases that are proceeding under Barnett v. Raoul because those cases prevailed in the lower federal district court and succeeded in getting that court to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the law.
The amicus briefs support all of the groups challenging Illinois’ law banning so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines (the misnamed Protect Illinois Communities Act “PICA”). The Second Amendment Law Center is particularly thankful for the assistance of several of the plaintiff’s groups that worked with us: FFL-Illinois, Guns Save Life, Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation, and Piasa Armory.
The amicus briefs supporting the groups challenging the law’s constitutionality are outstanding. See who stood up for the Second Amendment below.
Plaintiffs filed their response to the state’s opening briefs, where the government defendants urged the court to uphold the law earlier this week. A preliminary injunction issued by the lower court blocked the implementation of PICA since it bans nearly every modern semiautomatic rifle (and a whole lot more) commonly possessed in America. But the Court of Appeals stayed that injunction while the appeal is litigated, so the law is currently in effect.
The plaintiffs’ response brief noted that “the district court was thus eminently correct to recognize Illinois’s grave overstep and enjoin HB 5471”. The state cannot simply slap a misleading label on any firearm they don’t like and ban those firearms when they’re in common use and owned by millions of law-abiding Americans.
Second Amendment Law Center has been working hard to coordinate amicus briefs from a wide variety of groups including law enforcement, states, scholars, and experts. With 2ALC’s encouragement, the following groups filed amicus briefs asking the Court of Appeals to strike down the law:
The States of Idaho, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
This is huge. Twenty-four states are now on record opposing semi-auto and magazine bans. What are the chances for California Governor Gavin Newsom to get his 28th Amendment to the Constitution banning semi-autos passed when 24 states are already on record against it? Hint: It was always dead on arrival. Now it’s even deader.
International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, National Association of Chiefs of Police,
Second Amendment Law Center, Gun Owners of California, California Rifle & Pistol Association, State Line Rifle Association, Dewitt County Sportsman’s Club
American Firearms Association
D.C. Project Foundation, Operation Blazing Sword, and Liberal Gun Club
2ALC thanks all of the amicus groups that joined in supporting the challenges to this unconstitutional law.
The amicus briefs cover various issues the plaintiffs couldn’t cover comprehensively because of court-imposed page limitations. Those issues include what the text of the Second Amendment protects, how to properly apply the Bruen test for determining whether a gun law is constitutional, an explanation of the technology of firearms, the differences and similarities between military and civilian arms, and the appropriate period to look for historical laws that might be appropriate to consider in determining whether the founders would tolerate the current law.
All of the briefs and other filings can be read here.
2ALC attorneys expect these amicus briefs will positively impact the court’s reasoning, and we’re hopeful of victory here. A well-coordinated amicus brief campaign can make the difference between success and failure, and that’s what the Second Amendment Law Center is all about. But we recognize the politics behind the issues and are prepared to take this to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Lawyers for anti-gun owner states like Illinois and California play on emotions and make creative arguments to try and get around the Bruen ruling and get a court to side with their twisted analysis of historical laws and the Bruen test. They distort the Second Amendment’s meaning through their made-up versions of its history and tradition.
The District Court correctly applied the Bruen test, and its preliminary injunction should remain. Hopefully, the Seventh Circuit will agree, and will uphold the lower court’s ruling.
We must continue to fight back and hold the ground that we’re gaining in each of these cases across the country. Visit 2ALC.org and DONATE TO HELP US KEEP UP THE FIGHT IN ILLINOIS AND OTHER STATES.
C.D. “Chuck” Michel is Senior Partner at the Long Beach, California Law firm of Michel & Associates, P.C. He is the author of California Gun Laws, A Guide to State and Federal Firearm Regulations now in its 10th edition for 2023 and available at www.calgunlawsbook.com.