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Second Amendment-The Protect Illinois Communities Act

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//November 13, 2023//

Second Amendment-The Protect Illinois Communities Act

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//November 13, 2023//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Robert Bevis v. City of Naperville

Case No.: 23-1353

Officials: Easterbrook, Wood, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Second Amendment-The Protect Illinois Communities Act

The Second Amendment to the Constitution recognizes an individual right to “keep and bear Arms.” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008); McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010); Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. 411 (2016) (per curiam); and New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022). But even the most important personal freedoms have their limits. Government may punish a deliberately false fire alarm; it may condition free assembly on the issuance of a permit; it may require voters to present a valid identification card; and it may punish child abuse even if it is done in the name of religion. The right enshrined in the Second Amendment is no different.

The present consolidated cases, relate to the types of “Arms” that are covered by the Second Amendment. This presents a line-drawing problem. Most weapons, however, lie between the extremes of a personal handgun, used for self-defense and a nuclear weapon. The State of Illinois, in the legislation that lies at the heart of these cases, has decided to regulate assault weapons and high-capacity magazines—a decision that is valid only if the regulated weapons lie on the military side of that line and thus are not within the class of Arms protected by the Second Amendment. Several municipalities have done the same. The plaintiffs in these cases challenge that conclusion. The Seventh Circuit concludes that the state and the affected subdivisions have a strong likelihood of success in the pending litigation; and therefore, affirms the decisions of the district courts in appeals refusing to enjoin these laws, and vacates the injunction issued by the district court. The widespread ownership of assault weapons does not grant immunity from regulation.

Affirmed and vacated

Decided 11/03/23

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