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GOF Wins Injunction Against Illinois "Assault Weapons" Ban

Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) recently won a significant victory in court against the state of Illinois. On April 28, 2023, a federal judge blocked Illinois' so-called “assault weapons ban,” declaring it unconstitutional. GOF and GOA, along with several other pro-gun groups, filed the lawsuit against the state, arguing that the ban violated the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. 

The Illinois law, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) which was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in January, banned the possession, sale, or manufacture of most semi-automatic rifles, including the AR-15, the most popular semi-automatic rifle in the country. The law also prohibited standard-capacity magazines. Violating the law would result in a felony charge, and gun owners could face up to three years in prison. 

 However, the federal judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional, stating that it violated the Second Amendment's protection of the right to bear arms. The judge wrote in his decision, “PICA also interferes with the meaningful exercise of Second Amendment rights for one group of individuals — those with disabilities. To provide one example, consider arm braces for semi-automatic pistols. As noted above, PICA prohibits the use of an arm brace on any semi-automatic pistol with a detachable magazine without any caveat or exceptions. The Department of Justice has also attempted to regulate possession and registration of arm braces. As reason and the ATF final rule evidences, braces are needed by certain individuals with disabilities to operate a firearm. Thus, arm braces are an integral part of the meaningful exercise of Second Amendment rights for such individuals and can also be considered an ‘arm.'”  

GOA and other pro-gun groups argue that the ban on assault weapons does little to address the root causes of gun violence and instead penalizes law-abiding gun owners. They also argue that banning certain types of firearms based on their appearance rather than their functionality is arbitrary and ineffective. 

The court ruling in Illinois is significant because it recognizes that the ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. The decision is a positive development for those who believe in the right to bear arms and who recognize that bans on certain types of firearms are misguided and ineffective.  

In any case, the GOA's victory in court is significant and will likely have far-reaching implications for gun control legislation in the United States. The decision in Illinois sets a precedent that could potentially weaken the case for other such bans. 

“We are excited about this ruling and thrilled to see such strong commentary from Judge McGlynn. Especially as GOF celebrates its 40th anniversary today, what a great present for us and the American people. We will continue to hammer the point home to anyone who hopes to infringe on our rights – fall in line, or we will make you,” said GOF Board Member, Sam Padres. 

 GOF’s and GOA's victory in court blocking Illinois' “assault weapons” ban is a significant win for Second Amendment rights. While the debate over gun control will undoubtedly continue, this decision shows that there are limits to what states can do in restricting gun ownership.  

UPDATE: The Seventh Circuit of Appeals have stayed the injunction and the Supreme Court chose not to intervene.