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Illinois Appeals Court Upholds Assault Weapons Ban

The Village of Deerfield may once again enforce a ban on assault-style weapons following a decision in Appellate Court for the Second District of Illinois.

Washington, D.C., December 8, 2020 – Following the decision of the Appellate Court for the Second District of Illinois, the Village of Deerfield may once again continue to regulate the possession of assault-style weapons within its jurisdiction. The Court has vacated a previous injunction and decision in a challenge to the ordinance in Easterday et. al. v. Village of Deerfield, upholding the Village’s right to enact a ban on assault-style weapons while the case continues to work its way through further appeals. Brady and Perkins Coie represented Deerfield, with Christopher Wilson of Perkins Coie arguing the case.

Brady Legal Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy shared:

“The Village of Deerfield did the right thing in protecting residents from military-style assault weapons, and the Court of Appeals has properly recognized that ordinance is permitted. The people and their governments have a right to enact common-sense public safety laws. Among these are laws which ban the manufacture and use of assault-style weapons. The people of Deerfield are safer because of this decision. Brady is pleased that the court has recognized this and looks forward to continuing to support Deerfield’s common-sense action to protect its citizens.”

Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal shared:

“We are pleased the court validated our right to regulate this important public safety measure. 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.”

Christoper Wilson, lead counsel for Deerfield, shared:

“The Appellate Court’s decision makes clear that Illinois municipalities have the right to protect their citizens from assault weapons and that Deerfield followed the law in adopting its assault weapons ban.”

Village Attorney Steve Elrod shared:

“We were troubled with the legal interpretations and legal reasoning set forth in the trial court’s opinion, and we are pleased that the Appellate Court corrected the analysis, as a matter of law. As the Appellate Court correctly determined, Deerfield was well within its authority as a home rule unit to adopt the assault weapon ban.”

The village’s ban was unanimously approved by the Village Board of Trustees in 2018, citing the residents’ desire for public safety. The ban explicitly cited numerous instances in which assault-style weapons were used in mass shootings across the country, a claim backed up by years of evidence. In shootings where assault weapons or high-capacity magazines are used, 155 percent more people are shot, and 47 percent more people are killed. It is the reason that these are the weapons of choice for individuals who seek to inflict maximum damage and harm.

Deerfield’s ban was met with near-immediate opposition from groups and individuals opposed to common-sense regulations on assault-style weapons. These groups brought suit against the Village, claiming that the local government did not have the authority to enact such a ban under Illinois law. The court’s decision reverses a previous decision and injunction in favor of that argument, finding that the Village has the authority to ban assault-style weapons under Illinois law.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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