Bid to block Illinois’ new assault weapons ban now before federal appeals court – NBC Chicago

Bid to block Illinois’ new assault weapons ban now before federal appeals court – NBC Chicago
Bid to block Illinois’ new assault weapons ban now before federal appeals court – NBC Chicago

The federal appeals court in Chicago has its first opportunity to review Illinois’ controversial assault weapons ban, as challenges to the law continue to mount.

Naperville gun store owner Robert Bevis asked the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals for an injunction against the law late Tuesday. He wants the order in place while he appeals a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall that found the law “constitutionally sound.”

Bevis asked that the injunction, if granted, apply to anyone affected by the state law.

The case appears to be the first to challenge the ban in federal appeals court. The 7th Circuit now has the option to block the measure signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Jan. 10 — which immediately banned the sale of military-grade weapons and high-capacity magazines — or side with Kendall.

The court can also decide Bevis’ request on other grounds.

Kendall ruled last month that “because assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons … their regulation is consistent with history and tradition.” But Bevis’ lawyers have accused Kendall of wrongdoing. Under previous Supreme Court decisions, they said guns must be considered “dangerous and unusual” to be banned.

“An arm usually in the possession of law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes is, by definition, not unusual,” they wrote in their court filing Tuesday. “Therefore, such an arm cannot be both dangerous and unusual, and therefore cannot be subject to a categorical prohibition.”

They told the 7th Circuit that the case “is not a close one.”

It is unclear how quickly the Court of Appeal can decide. But Bevis’ lawyers insist his business has suffered since the assault weapons ban took effect. They wrote that 85% of the firearms sold by his business, Law Weapons & Supply, are prohibited by state law and a similar Naperville ordinance.

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“The cash balance is depleted and as a result, [Law Weapons & Supply] has had to lay off employees and ask Bevis’ family to work without pay,” Bevis’ lawyers wrote. “Evidence has stretched his personal credit, missed personal payments such as house and car payments, maxed out his credit limits and taken out loans to pay the monthly bills.”

They wrote that Law Weapons & Supply will be unable to honor its property and equipment leases “if these prohibitions remain in effect any longer.”

“Briefly summarized, [Law Weapons & Supply] will be put out of business if these laws are enforced,” they wrote.

Bevis’ lawsuit is one of several challenges filed in state and federal courts since Pritzker signed the law. Four federal challenges have been consolidated in southern Illinois federal court, where state attorneys recently argued that the weapons restricted by the new law are not typically used in self-defense.

“By design and in practice, they exist for the offensive infliction of mass injury,” they argued in a recent brief.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Supreme Court this week agreed to grant expedited processing of issues that have been raised in state court. The move was prompted by an order last week from a Macon County judge.

That judge followed the lead of previous Illinois appellate court decisions and found that the assault weapons ban violates the state constitution’s equal protection and special legislation clauses.

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