Federal Court Upholds Assault Weapons Ban: ‘Makes the Public Feel Safer…that’s a Substantial Benefit’

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday upheld a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines” in Highland Park, Illinois, ruling that the prohibition on these widely popular and commonly owned firearms and accessories is constitutional.

Lawyers for the plaintiff in the case, a gun owner named Arie Friedman who is backed by several gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Rifle Association, argued that the AR-15 is in common use (as it is the best selling rifle in America), which would suggest that it is protected under the Second Amendment.

However, two of the three judges on the panel dismissed the “common use” argument, stating that AR-15 as well as other semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines may be subject to a ban.

“During Prohibition, the Thompson submachine gun (the ‘Tommy gun’) was all too common in Chicago, but that popularity didn’t give it a constitutional immunity from the federal prohibition enacted in 1934,” wrote Circuit Judge Frank H. Easterbrook for the majority opinion that included Judge Ann Claire Williams.

Friedman’s lawyers also argued that the AR-15 is rarely used in crimes, which the the two judges acknowledged but felt that it had other salubrious benefits for public safety.

“If it has no other effect, Highland Park’s ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety,” wrote Easterbrook. “Mass shootings are rare, but they are highly salient, and people tend to overestimate the likelihood of salient events. If a ban on semi‐automatic guns and large‐capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.”

In his dissenting opinion, Judge Daniel Anthony Manion argued that the ban infringes on one’s individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

“To be sure, assault rifles and large capacity magazines are dangerous. But their ability to project large amounts of force accurately is exactly why they are an attractive means of self-defense,” wrote Manion. While most persons do not require extraordinary means to defend their homes, the fact remains that some do. Ultimately, it is up to the lawful gun owner and not the government to decide these matters.”

While this particular battle is lost the war is far from over. The NRA and the ISRA will now decide on whether to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, along with whether one’s right to self-defense extends beyond the home (the constitutionality of ‘may-issue’ concealed carry laws that require one to provide a “good and substantial reason to carry”) whether AR-15s and other black rifles are protected under the Second Amendment is something the high court has yet to rule on despite many cases being submitted for review in recent years. Until the justices of the Supreme Court rule on these important matters, we can expect more contradictory rulings from federal courts.

Friedman v Highland Park Illinois 7th Circuit Decision

[H/T: Chris Eger, Guns.com]

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • Don May 15, 2018, 2:49 pm

    When you talk about polls from any big college you only pass on what the libs Teach in Big shit holes.

  • Don May 15, 2018, 2:40 pm

    Off course not but if you want to make the liberals Happy You will listen to the so
    called reporters who don’t Report Its simple they take money from Big Shots and say what they are told to Say.

  • Grant Stevens September 1, 2017, 2:04 pm

    This “Federal Court” is in violation of the supreme law of the land. As such, its rulings are null and void. Until the Second Amendment is removed from our Constitution, “shall not be infringed” means just what it says, legal double-speak notwithstanding. The “judges” responsible for this decision should be immediately disrobed and removed from the bench. Until we the people make judges, politicians and all public servants honor their oaths to the Constitution, our unalienable rights will continue to be restricted and destroyed. Sic semper tyrannis!

  • Patriot September 9, 2016, 7:07 pm

    The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court always has an asinine opinion on matters pertaining to guns. Being in California, the court is obviously biased by idiots such as Gov. Brown, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer and other idiots such as Couric, Bloomberg, Soros the owner of Progressive insurance, Schumer, Healey, Harry Reid, governor of Oregon, Dan Gross the leader of the idiot “Brady Bunch”, and of course, Obama, Hillary and Billy and daughter Chelsea who married into a criminal family.

    Two Federal judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois, (location of very obvious failure in gun control by idiots in Chicago) probably selected by idiot Liberal Democrats, upholds “assault weapons” ban which will be appealed. These judges also have asinine opinions and are not capable of understanding the meaning of the Second Amendment that has been clarified by the U.S. Supreme Court. One of the least desirable consequences of the election would be for corrupt liar Hillary to select the Supreme Court Justices needed during her corrupt time in office. No doubt they would have her mindset of lies and corruption
    and would continue to change America into a SOCIALIST government as in Russia. That would probably be the end of American FREEDOM unless Americans rose up to defend the FREEDOM for which a tremendous number of American soldiers died to give America the FREEDOM OF THE CONSTITUTION !!!!

  • Jim Pierson July 29, 2016, 11:36 am

    Increase the sense of safety. Think about that comment for awhile.

  • Steven Coy July 1, 2016, 9:05 am

    No law, bill, or any other form of legislation by any Lawyer, Court or Judge can change any part of the Constitution or Bill of rights without a Constoitutional Convention and a Major Majority vote to chnge any or all of these rights!!!! So all laws and restrictions are Illegal according to our Constitution and its by laws. Vietnam Vet

    P.S. An assault weapon is a fully automatic weapon and if these idiots want to ban a semi auto ar15 the next step is all semi auto weapons so Americans especially you liberal Idiots you will be unarmed like the sheep in Florida and all the other American Cities that you idiots have let be gun free zones. You need guns more than ever since your Illegal Half Breed NOT BLACK Sunni Muslim/Marxist Traitor in Chief wants a gun free America so his Islamist Terrorists can take over our Country.

  • Ralph Solli June 10, 2016, 10:44 am

    Now that Hilary has become the Democratic candidate for president, it will be interesting to see if those of us who are law abiding gun owners AND Democrats will close ranks and ensure she does not get elected. For if she does, it will mean the end of the Second Amendment as we know it. This also goes for the Republican and Independent voters who because their candidate did not make it might just stay home and not vote. That will certainly guaranty that Hillary become the next Obama.

  • Linc Qimiq May 20, 2016, 3:07 am

    I have 2 AK-47 and 9 mm handgun for our SELF DEFENSE !!! Our gun are NOT for Criminal use !!!!!!!!

  • Archangel October 30, 2015, 12:35 pm

    So, how is taking away my AR-15’s make me feel safer?
    When I see video of a cop, in an armored vehicle, pointing a fully automatic “BLACK RIFLE” at the living room window where a man is doing nothing more than videotaping what is happening out on the street in front of his house, I have to refuse to disarm myself.

    • Linc Qimiq May 20, 2016, 3:08 am

      You have a right to armed as SELF DEFENSE !!!!

  • Ken June 25, 2015, 5:00 pm

    Any Judge who can’t stand up to the strict scrutiny of the populus that he/she can and will open carry on the bench as affirmation that tbey are prepared as per their oath to “preserve protect and defend”. Needs to be summarily removed from office. Any OFFICER OF THE COURT should have the same grasp of the “Constitution” as the average Marine. I’ll ” feel safer” when ” Juris Prudence” is a guy/woman who will be beside me in the foxholes when the nannying nattering nabobs get their comeuppances.

  • Jay May 9, 2015, 7:00 am

    When all the lawyers, judges, police and the federal government actually spend more time and effort arresting and convicting criminals, instead of pandering to thier so called human rights, then you would not only “feel safer” we might actually be safer! If you commit a crime you’ve not only broken the law you have broken your bonds to your human rights, laws were created to punish those who do not adhere or respect others human rights and you only deserve the arm of the law! The law to own firearms, (bear arms) which constitutes any type of firearm created from that point forward in time, it was worded that way for a reason, to cover invention and ingenuity of mankind, our forefathers were much wiser than any might think!

  • Joe McHugh May 6, 2015, 12:09 am

    The two judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, that wrote the majority opinion of Arie S. Fiedman, et al. V. City of Highland Park, Illinois decided on April 27, 2015, are incompetent!

    They stated “During Prohibition, the Thompson submachine gun (the ‘Tommy gun’) was all too common in Chicago, but that popularity didn’t give it a constitutional immunity from the Federal Prohibition enacted in 1934.” That’s an outright lie! Any American citizen can legally own such a ‘Tommy gun’ after registering it with the appropriate Federal Department at the time of sales transfer. The National Firearms Act of 1934 DID NOT OUTLAW machine guns. That law only requires that such “special firearms” be registered by the new owner when purchased.

    Then Judge Easterbrook doubled down by writing this embarrassing moment in time. “If it had no other effect, Highland Park’s ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety.” Does the judge mean the sense of safety concerning the government? Let’s consider what one of the Founding Fathers wrote about the people’s sense of safety. “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might abuse them, which would include their own government.” George Washington.

    The two dullard circuit court judges didn’t even bother to review the majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States decision in the District of Columbia et al. v. Heller case decided June 26,2008. “…the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.” Justice Antonin Scalia Call me crazy but that sounds like any small arm that you can pick up and operate is legal to keep and bear, (carry).

    But the worst performance was exhibited by the defense attorney. Did he really think that by stating that the weapon of criminal choice was the handgun and not the rifle, he would impress the two obviously anti-gun judges? They simply said that that fact was negated by the “scary” looks of the “assault rifles”.

    That defense attorney might better have enlightened the court about the intent of the Second Amendment. They might have stated that the law-abiding citizens needed firearms that were at least as effective as those carried by the criminals and the jack-booted thugs of the government. The liberals are fond of saying that the people could not possibly defy the authorities even if the government became tyrannical, because they would lack effective firepower. And why would they lack such firepower? Yup, because the liberal legislators restrict the private ownership of the very guns that would constitute a means of credible defense.

    Holy conspiracy Batman! It almost seems like a concerted effort of the government to disarm the people!
    Sadly, it’s not even a conspiracy because the undisguised anti-gun legislation initiatives are gaining momentum every time obama addresses the “wave of outrageous behavior by criminals armed with dangerous guns that are flooding the streets of America”.
    It’s not the handgun toting criminals that obama and his minions are worried about, it’s the rifle toting law-abiding citizens that scare the Democrat Party, a party that has become a front for Marxism. A “dangerous gun” is any firearm that might be used to resist a tyrannical government.

    Fear the government that fears your guns.

    • MRaymor May 9, 2016, 12:48 pm

      Very well put! Have you thought about running for office? You would get my vote.

  • Eric May 5, 2015, 11:41 am

    Since when do “feelings” appropriate law? This makes absolutely no logical sense.

  • John F May 5, 2015, 7:47 am

    The majority’s decision is the most convoluted thing I have ever heard. These judges can always have a second job as circus contortionists. Complete ignorance on their part.

  • Smoke May 4, 2015, 7:41 pm

    It will have the same affect as a no gun school zone or any other no gun zone.

  • L Cavendish May 4, 2015, 3:44 pm

    I’d feel a lot safer if they locked up criminals for longer periods of time…and actually prosecuted illegal gun ownership/use to the fullest extent…rather than trying to limit/infringe the right of law abiding citizens.

  • Eric May 4, 2015, 3:32 pm

    First of all did anybody notice that the Uzi pistol is actually an Uzi carbine. Second if they’re trying to give the “people” a safer peace of mind then they’re giving them false sense of security.

  • Greg D. May 4, 2015, 2:16 pm

    It is strange to me that all the people wanting to ban guns are saying it is for saving lives when there are so many other things that are killing people in way greater numbers . Take alcohol more children die from abuse and drunk driving in a day than than in a whole year from guns . So why not limit how many drinks that one person can be served at a bar or make people carry a scan card that limits the amount that can be purchased in a day .( Please don’t be a fended just using this as an example ) That makes as much sense as banning magazine limits and types of weapons if all you want to do is save lives . I’m beginning to think it goes much deeper than that something to think about .

  • LAH053 May 4, 2015, 1:28 pm

    I didn’t know LSD and Marijuana were legal in Illinois because the 7th Court of Appeals is obviously doing some serious drugs! The one thing they (the court) failed to do is READ the constitution like maybe the 2nd amendment. This being said, U.S. Supreme Court rulings have no standing with this appeals court of liberal activism and the demonstration of Socialist ideals for the total control and governing of the population.

  • Rocky May 4, 2015, 11:55 am

    ‘Federal Court Upholds Assault Weapons Ban: ‘

    “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” — Tench Coxe The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

    “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” — Tench Coxe (1755–1824), writing as “A Pennsylvanian,” in “Remarks On The First Part Of The Amendments To The Federal Constitution,” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, p. 2 col. 1

  • Jack May 4, 2015, 10:50 am

    After serving 5 years in the Airborne/Rangers, I attended law school and for 38 years have been an attorney licensed to practice in Georgia and California. When this country began, judges were picked from the brightest of our citizens and were tasked with protecting the Constitution of our great country. I can report that today that has all changed. The definition of a judge in America today, whether at the state or federal level, is an attorney who cannot make a living practicing law!

    • Kalashnikov Dude May 4, 2015, 11:55 am

      Dead on Jack!

  • D Hicks May 4, 2015, 9:33 am

    As concerned about any attack on freedom,that I am,the title of the article is misleading. I assumed it was about a Federal issue not a city issue. The case may turn into a state or national one. The title should have listed the city and state.

  • mpr May 4, 2015, 9:16 am

    Hey people in Illinois –
    that “safe feeling” did not stop two terrorists from trying an attack in Garland, TX this week! They had AK 47’s – so apparently the bad guys do NOT follow the laws – DUH! Thankfully, it is Texas, and they were shot dead before anyone was hurt.

    What don’t libs understand that “criminals (and terrorists) don’t obey the law”? I guess a good lib will also become a good target for the bad guys, best of luck with that approach. I will try a different approach and live in Texas.

  • Fedup May 4, 2015, 8:59 am

    Liberal federal morons!

  • Marty May 4, 2015, 7:53 am

    Who appointed these judges ? Obviously by some anti – gun person with the mindset of O’Bama or Holder, who only wants guns in the hands of drug dealers and probably in the hands of the ISIS terrorists who are reported to be joining the drug dealers in Mexico a few miles from the Texas border . What’s an assault weapon ? My single shot 410 snake charmer has a pistol grip and I doubt that a swat team would use one of them in their arsenal !

    • Marty May 4, 2015, 8:52 am

      I forgot to put Cuomo in the list with O’Bama and Holder .

  • David May 4, 2015, 7:52 am

    I always see the argument that the 2nd Amendment was for Self Defense. However, wasn’t the 2nd Amendment put in place to protect us from a Tyrannical government? This was why we fought for our Independence – we had just fought our war against England and the King. If so, there is no argument against taking our guns away from us and no judge could do so. Why doesn’t anyone make this argument?

    • bart May 12, 2015, 12:03 pm

      You are correct. The self defense and sporting issues we hear about most often are not the reason for the rights to bear arms. It’s so that the public can have the SAME arms as the government to defend against them and others. It’s for cases like the Alamo when citizens had to join together and defend themselves.

    • Herm November 13, 2015, 10:08 pm

      We are still fighting a war against the King. At this point the King is armed with a pen and a phone and it appears he is winning.

  • Time Chuck May 4, 2015, 7:45 am

    Its OK because it makes people feel substantially safer…. Would they be saying that for parents who don’t take their children to the hospital because it makes them feel safer to just pray?

  • Joe May 4, 2015, 6:04 am

    Those two Federal Judges should be disbarred and tried for declining to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America which they are sworn to uphold !!!

    • MRaymor May 9, 2016, 12:58 pm

      What ever happened to the practice of tar & feathering such ignorant public servants, and running them out of town on a rail? If they want to send gun owners back to flintlocks, then we should maybe resurrect that old practice as well!

  • Tim Case May 4, 2015, 5:27 am

    I have cited both of these comments to my socal media. I would vote for both of you as my president, beautifully put.

  • Will Drider April 29, 2015, 11:52 am

    If this Court really wanted people to feel safer, it would have mandated training and possesion of firearms for all citizens who can legally own a firearm. Who is responsible for an individuals safety? Not the Gov, Not the Police, just the individual. So banning otherwise lawful persons from possession of certian firearms is like standing facing the wind. Feels good until you piss. Now there is a legal president to restrict the Second Ammendment based on a placebo affect. Here’s your rose colored glasses, now the world is a better place. This idiotic ruling will not stand long. It is a measure of the majority Judges worthless application of law and skewed logic. They need to be removed from the Bench as soon as possible.

  • jimcolomas April 29, 2015, 10:01 am


    • Chris May 4, 2015, 8:02 am

      Yeah, they passed a little thing called “Prohibition” a while back. I guess it was supposed to make people feel better too. Didn’t work so well. The black market will ALWAYS step in to fill the void. By “banning” AR15s, they are making that very rifle more attractive to criminals. You will see crimes committed with AR15s actually increase, by banning them.

      • Jim November 14, 2015, 4:11 am

        Actually, “black rifles” hold little appeal to criminals of any stripe and that will hold true whether they are banned or not. Well, you can except that for the millions of newly created “criminal” gun owners who will not meekly surrender their weapons like the Brits and Aussies have.
        The reasons criminals aren’t interested in so called assault weapons is that the are first of all, well, rifles. They are big and bulky and hard to conceal and with a hi-cap mag even harder yet to conceal. They just aren’t used by criminals. About their only criminal use is by owners caught up in spur of the moment acts of violence and seldom even then.

    • greg May 4, 2015, 9:12 am

      Oath of office of the President of the United States .Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:— “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    • greg May 4, 2015, 9:22 am

      Oath of office of the President of the United States .Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:— “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      you think they would spend their time on running the country.

    • Jay November 14, 2015, 4:29 am

      First of all, why bother trying to hold career liars to any oath they curse… I mean, swear to. Considering most people trust car salesmen more than they do politicians…
      It isn’t really the politicians that are the problem. It’s the voters who elect them. Of course, that doesn’t take into account all the crooked vote counting either. I mean, when some counts show 100% votes for one candidate, you would think SOMEbody would notice the smell. But, that still isn’t the root of the problem
      The real problem is the out of control media. Most people watch those talking heads on the tube and take it as gospel. Other media sources are less influential but they are out there pitching too.
      I mean, they’ll show someone busting up a row of exploding water melons and water jugs with an AK on full auto and say, “Who needs such destructive weapons? Vote for your local liberal politician to make you safer.” And people, not knowing better, lap it up! Now, since most folks are public school educated, they won’t understand that full auto weapons were regulated by law way back in 1934. And if they showed somebody putting bullet holes into a paper target one shot at a time, who would get excited. Dull, Borrring. But, unless and until somebody with deep enough pockets to make it stick brings pressure to bear on these sorry excuses for reporting, the media will continue to call the shots (…not intended but, that is a heck of a cliche to bring to THIS discussion!). The media needs to start getting sued and charged with criminal offenses for fraud, slanderous and dishonest propagandizing in place of “reporting.” They need to be nailed for supporting politicians when their so called reporting is so far lopsided in support of one candidate over others as they so typically are. When they start having to defend every liberal statement they make, they’ll start reining it in!

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