Bring in the big guns? NRA lawyers help win US Supreme Court case over Illinois assault weapons ban

Two Second Amendment lawyers who helped win a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down a New York concealed carry gun law are now challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ assault weapons ban – with the help of the National Rifle Association.

Paul T. Clement, who successfully argued the New York case, is one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the latest federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the two-week injunction. of Illinois.

Clement is a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, DC, has served as the United States attorney general, representing the government in cases before the nation’s highest court since 2004. in 2008, during the George W. Bush administration.

Clement started his own firm after Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis decided to no longer handle Second Circuit. Erin Murphy, who is also part of the New York case, is also listed as an attorney in the challenge to Illinois’ gun ban, filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Illinois.

Plaintiffs in the new federal lawsuit include Sparta resident Caleb Barnett, Marion resident Brian Norman, Benton-based Hood’s Guns & More, Pro Gun and Indoor Benton-based Range and the National Sports Shooting Foundation, Inc.

Although the NRA is not listed as a plaintiff, a spokesperson for the organization told the Sun-Times that it joined the National Sports Shooting Foundation in bringing the suit, similar to what was done in case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which was eventually taken to the US Supreme Court.

In that case, the court in June 2022 struck down New York’s concealed carry gun law by a 6-3 majority, ruling that the law prevented law-abiding citizens from exercising their rights. the Second Amendment is to stop and hold hands for self-defense.

Although this is the first one related to the NRA, Tuesday’s court hearing is far from the first challenge to Illinois’ new firearms ban, known as the Illinois Civil Protection Act. The Illinois State Rifle Association filed its own federal lawsuit last week. And at least three lawsuits have already been filed in lower state district courts.

It was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker signed the law on January 10, immediately banning the sale of firearms in Illinois and limiting the purchase of magazines to 10 for long guns and 15 for guns. It also made rapid fire devices, called “switches,” illegal because they turned guns into fully automatic weapons. Those who already own the guns are allowed to keep them but are required to register with the Illinois State Police by January 1.

It was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker the ban on weapons against the state Capitol in Springfield on January 10.

Tina Sfondeles/Chicago Sun-Times file

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday contends that the law violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. It is also argued that this practice is unconstitutional because of the types of weapons that law-abiding citizens often use. It is widely argued that the government cannot ban weapons that are used today for self-defense, a point that was made clear in Bruen’s decision.

“Almost no other state in the union has tried to take such a drastic measure – and for good reason, because no less an authority than the Supreme Court has already found that semiautomatic rifles are ‘common be widely accepted as a matter of law,’” the suit states.

“All of that destroys any attempt to say that banning these weapons anywhere is consistent with ‘historical traditions that limit the external boundaries of the right to keep and bear arms,'” the said the suit, citing the Bruen case.

The suit contends that semi-automatic rifles are the most commonly used weapons for self-defense today and that “tens of millions of Americans own hundreds of millions of such weapons,” about top magazines.

The suit says the law bans hundreds of models of firearms, “including the most popular models in circulation.”

Assault weapons are displayed at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield in 2013.

Assault weapons are displayed at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield in 2013.

“None of this is consistent with the Second Amendment, which protects the right of Americans to observe the laws to keep and bear arms that are ‘commonly used’ for self-defense today. now,” he cried.

The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional. It also seeks an order to stop the enforcement of the law against the plaintiffs and their representatives.

The NRA said it also helped pay for the suit, along with the National Sports Shooting Foundation, a trade association.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly are listed as defendants in the case. The governor’s office and the attorney general did not immediately respond to requests for a court opinion.

Pritzker repeatedly said he believes the legislation will pass the constitution, most recently in an interview with CBS News on Tuesday.

“We think we’re going to win, and we have the Constitution behind us and the constitutional experts and experts who helped craft the law,” Pritzker said. “So, I feel very happy with the great result.”

A southern Illinois district judge last week halted enforcement of an assault weapons ban against 865 gun owners and one gun shop that filed a state lawsuit challenging it. eat the law.

Help: Jon Seidel

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