Judge overturns Deerfield’s ban on assault weapons

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According to Karen Berkowitz of the Pioneer Press, on Friday a Lake County Circuit Judge ruled that with it’s assault ban ordinance last year, Deerfield defied Illinois legislation enacted 5 years prior that gave exclusive power to the state in regards to weapon regulation. From the article, “Judge Luis Berrones issued a permanent injunction blocking the village from enforcing its ordinance. In the ruling, Berrones wrote that the plaintiff gun owners have “a clearly ascertainable right to not be subjected to a preempted and unenforceable ordinance” that prohibits possession of assault weapons, imposes financial penalties for keeping them and allows their property to be confiscated.” The ban was enacted in April of 2018 after a recent string of mass shootings caused Deerfield Trustees to worry about their villages safety. The ban included weapons such as the AR-15, AK-47, and Uzi. As Berkowitz notes, local gun owners were very quick to file lawsuits because as mentioned earlier, the Village had made some costly mistakes in when it decided to enact its ban. “The Illinois legislature had given municipalities until July 19 of that year(2013) to regulate assault weapons before a new Illinois Concealed Carry Act and an amended Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Act eliminated their ability to do so.” So, after July 19 of 2013 the villages window of opportunity to regulate/ban assault weapons was basically missed for good. However, the village tried to play another angle in arguing that it’s ban didn’t overstep Illinois legislation. They attempted to argue that the ban was not a new ordinance, but an amendment to a prior ordinance enacted before July 19 that defined assault weapons and required safe storage and transportation within the village. This would of course make the ordinance in compliance with Illinois legislation. So, the question was, could the ban on assault weapons really be called an amendment to the ordinance such as the one enacted before July 19 of 2013, or a whole new thing altogether? Judge Berrones however ruled that the ordinance was not an amendment but a new ordinance, dashing Deerfield’s hopes for the ban standing. Here’s Deerfield’s statement about the ruling: “It appears that the judge focused less on Deerfield’s actions and more on the actions of the Illinois state legislature back in 2013, the judge took issue with the way in which the state legislature drafted the state statute, and he read into the statute a complete preemption of home rule authority to regulate assault weapons. We continue to believe that these weapons have no place in our community and that our common-sense assault weapon regulations are legal and were properly enacted. In the meantime, however, we will abide by the court’s ruling and continue to not enforce our ordinance.”


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