This week, oral arguments began in a federal district court in East St. Louis over the constitutionality of Illinois’ new assault weapons ban law. The case is a consolidation of several lawsuits filed by groups including the Illinois State Rifle Association.
On the plaintiff’s side, attorneys argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently set the standard for what is considered arms in the Second Amendment, and that semi-automatics are arms in common use and are therefore protected by the Bill of Rights. The Illinois Attorney General representing the State, however, argued that because of technological advancement, the banned firearms are more advanced than what the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended to protect with the Second Amendment.
The start of the hearing is timely, as Monday marked the beginning of another phase of the gun ban taking effect. Now, citizens can no longer purchase certain magazines and if found in noncompliance can face a petty offense charge with up to a $1,000 fine. Noncompliant firearms, however, can face a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony charge for subsequent offenses.