Gun defense group sues Highland Park

SPRINGFIELD — A gun advocacy group is challenging the city of Highland Park’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines like those used in a July 4 mass shooting.

The National Association for Gun Rights, based in Loveland, Colo., filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Chicago federal district court at the same time it filed lawsuits challenging a similar order in Naperville as well as the laws of the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Hawaii.

The cases were filed in district courts that are part of five different federal appellate circuits. Illinois is part of the 7th Circuit. In a statement on Thursday, the group said it was pushing for a national precedent to end all similar bans across the country.

“Our mission has always been to extend pro-gun precedents and defend gun owners,” said Hannah Hill, director of research and policy for the National Foundation for Gun Rights, the legal defense fund of the association, in the press release. “The brilliant decision of (U.S. Supreme Court) Justice (Clarence) Thomas this summer has provided us with the ammunition needed to free the millions of law-abiding Americans who are being unjustly denied their gun rights. .”

In the lawsuits, the gun rights group rejects the use of the term “assault weapon”, calling it a “charged political term intended to arouse the emotions of the public” and instead uses the term ” firearm prohibited.

The lawsuits allege the bans violate the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. They cite recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including a 2008 decision overturning the handgun ban in Washington D.C., a 2010 decision overturning similar handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, and a ruling in June of this year overturning New York State’s law requiring people to show “just cause” to obtain a firearms license.

On July 4, 21-year-old Robert Crimo III allegedly carried an assault-style weapon and three high-capacity magazines onto a rooftop in downtown Highland Park and fired into an Independence Day parade, killing seven people and injuring dozens more. He is being held without bail on multiple counts of first degree murder.

Prior to this shooting, Highland Park had a 2013 ordinance prohibiting the sale or rental of assault weapons or “assault ammunition feeders”, the definitions of which are set out in the law. The city of Naperville passed a substantially similar ordinance in August, specifically in response to the mass shooting in Highland Park and an earlier shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Highland Park’s order, however, has already been challenged in federal court and, in 2015, a three-judge panel of the 7e The Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the order.

In their view, the justices specifically cited the 2010 Supreme Court case in Washington, D.C., in which Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right “to possess and carry any weapon in any way”. and for any purpose,” and noted that the court cautioned against interpreting the decision too broadly.

“We remain confident that the assault weapons ban the City of Highland Park passed in 2013 is legal and constitutional, and that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ affirmation of constitutionality remains a landmark precedent in our jurisdiction,” City Attorney Steven M. Elrod said in an emailed statement.

A spokesperson for the city of Naperville did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since the Highland Park shooting, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker has called for a state and national ban on assault weapons. A bill pending in the Illinois House by Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia that would impose a statewide ban has 56 co-sponsors.

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