Cook County’s Gun Ban Stands, While the Statewide Challenge Continues

A federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois upheld Cook County’s firearms ban on Friday. In the Southern District, the statewide ban is still being challenged.

Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer handed a summary judgment in Viramontes v. Cook County on Friday, declaring in favor of the county and against the plaintiffs. Pallmeyer cited the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ opinion in Bevis v. Naperville, in which a three-judge panel stated the city and state had a good chance of defending gun bans.

“But even considering the sources the Plaintiffs do cite, their evidence falls far short of meaningfully distinguishing AR-15s from M16s,” Pallmeyer noted in an email. “This is a distinction without a difference. There is no suggestion in Bevis that this percentage variation in minute-to-minute shooting capacity would distinguish AR-15s from M16s (which the court concluded were military weapons) and make them susceptible to Second Amendment protection.”

Cook County's Gun Ban Stands, While the Statewide Challenge Continues

The case was filed in August 2021. An appeal is expected.

Other cases challenging gun bans in the Northern District of Illinois are on hold while plaintiffs appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

In the Southern District, attorney Thomas Maag, who represents a plaintiffs’ group suing over the statewide prohibition, said Judge Stephen McGlynn is making good progress.

“The court made it clear that it was ready for this case to start proceeding and it didn’t need any more excuses to delay discovery and proceeding in this case,” the judge stated.

Following a closed-door meeting with litigants last week, McGlynn directed counsel on Friday to submit discovery requests by March 13 and a list of experts by March 27.

“The Court may discuss the targeted trial month and set the date for the final pretrial conference at the upcoming status conference,” the judge noted.

According to Maag, McGlynn is making good progress.

“I believe this case will be tried sometime this summer, yes,” Maag told The Center Square.

On January 10, 2023, Illinois prohibited more than 170 semi-automatic rifles, magazines with particular capacity, and attachments. Supporters argue that the prohibition is vital to get “assault weapons” and “weapons of war” off the streets.

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