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Illinois appeals court upholds assault weapons ban in Deerfield

File Photo – Village of Deerfield.

The Illinois Appellate Court has reversed the ruling of a Lake County judge, allowing for Deerfield to begin enforcing their assault weapons ban, which allows fines of $250-$1,000 a day for violators.

The 2nd District Appellate Court found that the Village of Deerfield lawfully adopted an ordinance banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The 3-judge panel issued a 43-page opinion, authored by Justice Kathryn Zenoff, on Friday.

Their ruling will vacate a permanent injunction issued by Lake County Associate Judge Luis Berrones in March 2019 that stopped Deerfield from enforcing the ban.

The plaintiffs in the case were Daniel Easterday, the Illinois State Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation Inc., Guns Save Lifes, Inc., and John Wombacher.

In 2013, the Deerfield Village Board passed an ordinance that regulated assault weapons and created certain measures that had to be taken when transporting or storing them. However, it did not ban them.

In 2018, the Deerfield Village Board amended the 2013 ordinance to prohibit the possession, sale and manufacturing of certain types of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

The plaintiffs in the suit challenged Deerfield’s authority and said they violated the state law that forbids municipalities from enacting new assault weapon regulations after July 20, 2013.

Deerfield argued that the ban was simply an amendment to the town’s existing regulations on storing and transporting the guns and not a new amendment.

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The Appellate Court agreed that the Illinois State Legislature allowed for home rule units to regulate assault weapons, including complete bans if they followed the correct statutory process.

The Appellate Court also found that Deerfield acted lawfully by enacting a regulation within the 10-day period following the adoption of the state law and then later amending it.

“We are pleased the court validated our right to regulate this important public safety measure. I continue to believe that these weapons have no place in our community,” said Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal.

“I thank all of the residents, especially students, who called for action following the shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School,” she added.

Deerfield village officials say they intend to enforce this ordinance in a manner similar to other local ordinances.

“This ordinance will initially be enforced primarily through education and voluntary compliance. A police officer may issue a citation for a violation of this ordinance in the manner provided by law,” the village said.

“Any other enforcement of this ordinance, including search or seizure to effect this ordinance, must comply with the requirements of State and Federal law. Members of the Police Department will not go “door to door” to ensure compliance,” the village added.


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