UPDATE — On May 4, Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, in the 7th Circuit Court of appeals, granted a motion to stay the preliminary injunction previously issued by Judge McGlynn in this case. In simpler terms, Judge Easterbrook is allowing the unconstitutional law that will create the ban to go into effect. He issued this order on a one-page document with no clarification or explanation.
Today, Judge Stephen McGlynn, in the Southern District of Illinois, granted a preliminary injunction against the unconstitutional Illinois’ Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA).
PICA was passed by the notoriously anti-gun Governor J.B. Pritzker in January of 2023 following the July 2022 Highland Park shooting in which seven were killed and 48 were wounded during an Independence Day parade. The new law bans the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, importation, and possession of many popular firearms, magazines, attachments, stocks, and grips.
Second Amendment rights groups immediately filed suit. The case being heard (Barnett v Raoul) is actually a consolidation of four related cases. Kwame Raoul is the Illinois Attorney General representing Governor Pritzker as defendant in the case.
When it comes to attacking the Second Amendment, anti-gun liberals weave long, convoluted arguments, usually supported by small mountains of exhibits and tomes of paperwork that are often irrelevant to the topic at hand. They parse words and bend definitions in an effort to rewrite the history of how and why we came to have encoded in our Constitution – in very simple words – an affirmation that the People have the right to keep and bear firearms for self-defense and to fight tyranny in all its forms.
That’s why Judge McGlynn’s decision was so beautiful. He laid out in the barest number of words why he granted the preliminary injunction and why the State has erred in passing this law. We cannot state it any more elegantly, so we’ll let his words speak for themselves:
“As Americans, we have every reason to celebrate our rights and freedoms, especially on Independence Day. Can the senseless crimes of a relative few be so despicable to justify the infringement of the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals in hopes that such crimes will then abate or, at least, not be as horrific? More specifically, can PICA be harmonized with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and with Bruen? That is the issue before this Court. The simple answer at this stage in the proceedings is “likely no.” The Supreme Court in Bruen and Heller held that citizens have a constitutional right to own and possess firearms and may use them for self-defense. PICA seems to be written in spite of the clear directives in Bruen and Heller, not in conformity with them. Whether well-intentioned, brilliant, or arrogant, no state may enact a law that denies its citizens rights that the Constitution guarantees them. Even legislation that may enjoy the support of a majority of its citizens must fail if it violates the constitutional rights of fellow citizens. For the reasons fully set out below, the overly broad reach of PICA commands that the injunctive relief requested by Plaintiffs be granted.”
As we recently reported, there is a very strong framework of legal precedent upholding the Second Amendment. In this case, Judge McGlynn looked at MacDonald, Heller, and Bruen and came to the conclusion that all three cases have already underpinned the Second Amendment in ways that the Illinois assault weapons ban cannot circumvent.
Judge McGlynn also made an observation that may very well prove useful to other lawsuits that have challenged “high capacity magazine” bans. He recognized that magazines are inherently linked to firearms, and attempts to ban them are de facto bans on firearms.
“Defendants’ expert is clearly referencing magazines and incorporating such into his definition of a “firearm.” Id. This Court agrees that magazines are “arms” as used in the plain text of the Second Amendment. Plaintiffs are correct that “[t]his is not even a close call.” (Doc. 10, p. 16). If Defendants’ own expert incorporates magazine capacity into his definition of a firearm, given his level of expertise, it would be unreasonable to expect the original public meaning of the plain text to not reflect a similar understanding.”
He also addresses the fact that Illinois has banned pistol stabilizing braces and references the ATF’s recent controversial rule making decision (which is also being challenged in court):
“As reason and the ATF final rule evidences, braces are needed by certain individuals with disabilities to operate a firearm. Thus, arm braces are an integral part of the meaningful exercise of Second Amendment rights for such individuals and can also be considered an “arm.””
Finally, as he eviscerated the State’s argument that PICA is consistent with historical tradition in the United States, Judge McGlynn states that the State’s argument is “bordering on the frivolous” and that the Defendants (the State) have been, “unable to produce evidence showing that modern sporting rifles are both dangerous and unusual.”
While it’s almost certain that the State will immediately appeal the Court’s decision, the Bruen hammer (and previous precedent) continues to pound away at the anti-gun, anti-constitutional positions of States like Illinois and tyrants like Pritzker.
We will continue to cover this story.