A small Illinois town on Monday was cleared to begin enforcing a 2018 prohibition on so-called “assault weapons” that was previously tied up in litigation.
Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal spearheaded a total ban on ownership of certain semi-automatic rifles following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida, according to Patch. A judge last year issued an injunction on the town forbidding enforcement of the order, but a three-judge appeals panel reversed the ruling this week and sided with Deerfield leaders, the local outlet reported.
“We are pleased the court validated our right to regulate this important public safety measure,” Rosenthal told Patch. “I continue to believe that these weapons have no place in our community. I thank all of the residents, especially students, who called for action following the shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School.”
The Concealed Carry Act and the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, which were passed statewide in 2013, allowed localities to draft their own firearms laws if they made such regulations within 10 days of the new laws taking effect, according to Patch. The court found that Deerfield authorities drafted a definition of “assault weapons” and made laws regarding proper transportation of the firearms, but did not construct an outright ban within the 10-day period, the local outlet reported.
The appeals court addressed the issue that Deerfield didn’t enact its ban within the allotted 10-day period, and insisted the town sufficiently established “regulatory authority” from its initial transport laws.
“Deerfield understood that if it failed to regulate such weapons by July 20, 2013, it would forever lose its power to do so,” a judge who sided with the town wrote, according to Patch. “Although Deerfield was not ready to impose a total ban on assault weapons, it did not want to lose its regulatory authority on this matter.
“Deerfield believed that if it timely regulated assault weapons, it could amend those regulations at any time and in any manner it wished.”
Those opposed to the ban said the local government “sat on the fence” and waited to pass the ordinance.
“I disagree with it, because I believe what Deerfield did was not amending an ordinance, and an end-run around the spirit of what the state intended,” Daniel Easterday, a firearms instructor opposed to the ban, told Patch. “The state basically, in 2013, said, ‘Either you’re going to do it or you’re not.”
“Don’t sit on the fence.’ Deerfield sat on the fence, then decided later to get off the fence, and I think that was against the spirit of the preemption language of the Conceal Carry Act and the FOID Act as amended in 2013.”
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