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posted on 1/12/23

All across the state of Illinois, reactions have varied from relief to dread after Governor Pritzker signed an assault weapons ban into law on Tuesday. The bill takes effect immediately after its signature and includes a ban on the sale of assault-type weapons, high-capacity magazines, and rapid-fire devices.

To some, the bill represents a major landmark victory in the fight against firearm deaths and mass shooting tragedies. To others, the ban represents an inexcusable violation of their second amendment rights. Residents in Illinois should expect to see lots of legal challenges to the ban in the coming months, focusing on the possible unconstitutionality of the law.

Why an Assault Weapons Ban in the First Place?

Supporters of the new law cite the recent increase in instances of mass shootings as well as the increase in deaths caused by assault weapons. Supporters hope the law will stop a rising tide of gun violence in America which they believe is in part caused by the tremendous damage that can be done by assault weapons in a short amount of time.

Supporters respond to the alleged unconstitutionality of the bill by calling attention to the historical context of the second amendment. However, the U.S. Courts have defined this statute in historical context with the standard “in common use today.” Gun sales in America reached a record number during the pandemic, with the sale of 22.8 million guns in 2020. Estimates are that there are currently 15-20 million assault rifles owned by Americans today and opponents of the ban argue that those weapons are “in common use today’ and that a ban will not reduce that number. Supporters of the ban argue that the right to bear arms should not apply to some modern weaponry.

Is it Constitutional to Ban Assault Weapons?

The law may run into issues stemming from its possible unconstitutionality. The constitution protects the right of citizens in the United States to bear arms. Signing laws into effect that limit this right may be ruled a violation of the essential rights of any US citizen.

Detractors of the recent law feel that regulating the purchase and use of assault weapons for law-abiding citizens simply makes it so that ordinary people cannot protect themselves against criminals armed with more powerful weaponry. Detractors also argue that the bill criminalizes ordinary gun owners who have not caused any harm and would not be inclined to do so simply due to ownership of an assault weapon. Detractors also have deep concerns about the government-imposed gun registry, which requires gun owners in Illinois to give the make, model, serial number, and where the weapon is stored to the Illinois State Police in order to legally possess the weapons. They express profound concerns with computer security and point to the recent computer hack of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, which required federal assistance and investigation, as an example of their concerns. One computer hack of the computer storage system creates a shopping list of what is out there and where it is held for criminals to rob and puts themselves and their families in danger for exercising their constitutional rights.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get help from a legal professional if you are facing criminal charges. Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help navigate new changes to assault weapon law. Recent changes to Illinois law likely affect your right to bear arms, so make sure to remain informed and updated. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.