In January, the Illinois Legislature passed the Protect Illinois Communities Act (“PICA”), which banned more than 190 commonly owned arms by mislabeling them “assault weapons” and banned commonly owned magazines by mislabeling them “large capacity.” An ILA-backed lawsuit was promptly filed, challenging PICA under the Second Amendment. Today, a federal court issued an order blocking PICA from taking effect, holding that it likely violated the Second Amendment.
“[T]here is no evidence as to how PICA will actually help Illinois Communities,” the court wrote. “It is also not lost on this Court that the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and some Illinois States Attorneys believe PICA unconstitutional and cannot, in good conscience, enforce the law as written and honor their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution.” The court continued, “it does not appear that the legislature considered an individual’s right under the Second Amendment nor Supreme Court precedent. Moreover, PICA did not just regulate the rights of the people to defend themselves; it restricted that right, and in some cases, completely obliterated that right by criminalizing the purchase and the sale of more than 190 ‘arms.’”
The court was even more critical of the arguments that the state put forward in defense of PICA. The state argued that PICA was constitutional because the arms and magazines that it banned did not exist in 1791 when the Constitution was ratified. The court called that argument “bordering on the frivolous.” The state also attempted to argue that magazines were not “arms.” The court squarely rejected that argument, declaring that it was “not even a close call” because the state’s “own expert incorporates magazine capacity into his definition of a firearm.” And the court found that when it comes to the banned features that make the firearm a so-called assault weapon “the defensive application is obvious, as is the public safety advantage in preventing stray shots.”
The court ultimately stayed the law from taking effect during the pendency of the litigation.
The case is captioned Barnett v. Raoul. It was filed in the Southern District of Illinois on behalf of individual plaintiffs and the National Shooting Sports Foundation and financially supported by the NRA.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org for future updates on NRA-ILA’s ongoing efforts to defend your constitutional rights.