Assault weapons bans are still not unconstitutional. For now.
By way of a 2 - 1 decision [PDF] last Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has temporarily upheld an Illinois assault weapons ban.
The Illinois Act makes it "unlawful for any person [except "trained professionals" and "grandfathered individuals"] within Illinois knowingly to 'manufacture, deliver, sell or purchase…an assault weapon, assault weapon attachment, .50 caliber rifle, or .50 caliber cartridge." The Act expressly applies to the AR-15 and to high-capacity magazines.
The issue came before 7th Circuit via three consolidated cases: Bevis v. City of Naperville, Herrera v. Raoul and Barnett v. Raoul. In two of the cases, Bevis and Herrera, federal district court judges denied motions for the issuance of a preliminary injunction whereas the district court, in Barnett, granted a preliminary injunction.
The 7th Circuit decision, authored by Judge Diane Wood, a Clinton appointee, and joined by Judge Frank Easterbrook, a Reagan appointee, overturned the Barnett preliminary injunction upon the grounds that the plaintiffs in all three cases had failed to establish a strong likelihood of success on the merits. (Michael Brennan, a Trump appointee, dissented.)
While it doesn't amount to a final determination on the constitutionality of the assault weapons ban deployed in the Land of Lincoln, at a time of unbridled carnage --- there have been more than 565 mass shootings in the U.S. over the first 10 months of 2023 --- the reasoning applied by the 7th Circuit majority offers a glimpse, at least, of sanity...