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U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Illinois Assault Weapon Ban In 2-1 Ruling

A federal appeals court upheld an Illinois ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines enacted after a 2022 mass shooting in Chicago's Highland Park suburb that left seven people dead and dozens more wounded, Reuters reports. In a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lower-court injunction imposed against the firearms restrictions in one set of cases and affirmed decisions keeping the law intact in another batch. The ruling also upheld several similar local laws in Illinois. The Democratic-backed state measure bans the sale and distribution of many kinds of high-powered semiautomatic "assault weapons," including AK-47 and AR-15 rifles, and large-capacity magazines.


Opponents challenged the measure on grounds that it violated the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment right for individuals to "keep and bear arms." The appellate panel held that like other constitutionally protected freedoms, Second Amendment gun rights were subject to certain limits that can be legitimately imposed by government. Writing for the 7th Circuit on Friday, Judge Diane Wood, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, said supporters of Illinois' gun law "have a strong likelihood of success" in further litigation in light of the "tools of history and tradition to which the Supreme Court directed us" in a key New York case last year. Dissenting was Judge Michael Brennan, an appointee of former President Trump. In August, a divided Illinois Supreme Court upheld the assault weapons ban in a separate case. Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California's assault weapons ban would remain in force while the state attorney general appealed a lower-court decision declaring the 30-year-old measure unconstitutional.

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