NRA sues Illinois over assault weapons ban

The U.S. House of Representatives passed such a measure during the last Congress, though it failed to attract enough support in the Senate and has not become law.

Updated: January 24, 2023 - 7:42pm

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The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action on Tuesday announced that it had filed suit against the state of Illinois' recent "assault weapons" ban.

An NRA-ILA press release referenced the 2008 Supreme Court case of D.C. v. Heller, in which justices stated that "A state may not 'prohibit[] … an entire class of "arms" that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for [a] lawful purpose.'"

"Yet that is precisely what Illinois has just done," the NRA contended. In mid-January, Illinois passed an assault weapons ban which barred the further purchase of certain semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and a host of other features as well as magazines containing more than 10 rounds for long rifles and more than 15 for pistols.

The Heller case addressed the District of Columbia's handgun ban and restrictions on the storage of lawfully owned firearms within the home. The court eliminated both the handgun ban and District requirements that firearms at home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.

"There is no question that these arms are commonly owned for lawful purposes. There is no question that they cannot be banned under the Second Amendment," the NRA press release claimed.

Many Americans keep semi-automatic rifles in their homes for self-defense. Some such firearms, however, have gained notoriety through their repeated use in mass shootings, especially the AR-15.

Illinois is not the only state to enact an assault weapons ban. The U.S. House of Representatives passed such a measure during the last Congress, though it failed to attract enough support in the Senate and has not become law.

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