(The Center Square) – A federal judge has denied motions for a restraining order in a lawsuit against Illinois and Naperville’s “assault weapons” and magazine bans.
The case originated against Naperville and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in September 2022.
Robert Bevis, the lead plaintiff, is with Law Weapons, Inc., a gun store in Naperville, and is challenging the city’s ordinance banning certain semi-automatic weapons.
The case was also carried by the National Association for Gun Rights.
In December, Judge Virginia Kendall ordered a stay on enforcing the ordinance while the case continued.
The stay was in effect “until the final deposition of plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction,” Kendall wrote.
The judge also ordered the parties to address whether the Second Amendment’s plain text covers the conduct at issue in Naperville’s ordinance banning the sale of so-called “assault weapons,” and if so, whether the “regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” per a U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
After Jan. 10, when Illinois enacted the statewide ban on certain semi-automatic firearms and magazine capacities, plaintiffs motioned to amend their case to include a challenge to the state law.
“With the decision handed down in [the U.S. Supreme Court case New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen], laws like this one must find their justification in the history, text, and tradition of the Second Amendment – and a wholesale ban on the most popular firearms in America is unjust and unconstitutional,” National Association for Gun Rights President Dudley Brown said last month.
“These laws ban firearms that are in common use throughout the United States in violation of the test set forth in Heller. We look forward to demolishing this draconian law and restoring the gun rights of the law-abiding citizens of Illinois,” Brown said.
During a hearing of the case late last month, Naperville’s attorney argued police powers allow regulations of certain weapons and provided historical context for such laws.
The plaintiffs’ attorney argued regulations are possible, but not a complete ban if it implicates a right like the Second Amendment.
The judge on Friday issued an opinion and order denying the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction.
“Assault weapons pose an exceptional danger, more so than standard self-defense weapons such as handguns,” the judge wrote. “High-capacity magazines share similar dangers.”
Kendall provided various stats about mass shootings involving semi-automatic firearms, saying regulations on such items are not “unusual” or “severe.”
“The federal government banned assault weapons for ten years. Today, eight states, the District of Columbia, and numerous municipalities, maintain assault-weapons and high-capacity magazine bans – as more jurisdictions weigh similar measures,” Kendall wrote.
“Because assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons and high-capacity magazines are particularly dangerous weapon accessories, their regulation accords with history and tradition,” Kendall said.
The judge said the city and state “lawfully exercised” their authority to regulate the possession, transfer, sale and manufacture of certain firearms by banning commercial sales.
“That decision comports with the Second Amendment, and as a result, the plaintiffs have not shown the ‘likelihood of success on the merits’ necessary for relief,” Kendall wrote.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment on whether they plan to appeal.
There are at least four other federal cases filed in the Southern District of Illinois federal courts challenging the state’s gun ban.
The state is ordered to reply to those motions for injunctive relief by no later than March 2.
In state-level challenges of Illinois’ gun ban, temporary restraining orders have been issued against the state from enforcing the law, but those only impacts plaintiffs named in the lawsuits.
A motion has been filed with the Illinois Supreme Court to consolidate cases out of Effingham, White and Macon counties.