A suburb of Chicago known as Deerfield will now be able to follow through with a confiscatory ban on AR-pattern rifles that fines violators as much as $1,000 per day thanks to a recent appellate court decision.
The sweeping ban that also targets “large-capacity magazines” was initially blocked by Lake County Associate Judge Luis Berrones in March of 2019, who in citing the state’s preemption law ruled that only the Legislature can regulate firearms.
But last Friday, a 3-judge panel for the 2nd District Appellate Court vacated Judge Berrones’ permanent injunction, suggesting in its 2-1 ruling that Deerfield retained the power to prohibit certain classes of weapons and accessories because it created an exemption just prior to the roll out of the preemption statute in 2013.
“Deerfield understood that if it failed to regulate such weapons by July 20, 2013, it would forever lose its power to do so,” said Judge Kathryn Zenoff in a 36-page opinion.
“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,” she continued. “Deerfield believed that if it timely regulated assault weapons, it could amend those regulations at any time and in any manner it wished.”
In other words, Deerfield leaders claim they left the door open to ban black rifles at a later date. That later date came in 2018, when they pushed the confiscatory ban that included the hefty fines for those who refused to comply.
The lead plaintiff in the case, Daniel Easterday, criticized the latest ruling by the appellate court.
“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,” Easterday told local media.
“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,” he continued.
Easterday is being supported by the Illinois State Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and Guns Save Lifes, Inc.
Officials for the village outlined how they will initially enforce the new ordinance.
“This ordinance will initially be enforced primarily through education and voluntary compliance. A police officer may issue a citation for a violation of this ordinance in the manner provided by law,” the village said.
“Any other enforcement of this ordinance, including search or seizure to effect this ordinance, must comply with the requirements of State and Federal law. Members of the Police Department will not go ‘door to door’ to ensure compliance,” the village added.
GunsAmerica reached out to Alan Gottlieb, the founder of SAF, to see what the next move would be for Mr. Easterday and the other plaintiffs in this case.
“SAF will definitely be filing an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. We are confident that this 2-1 ruling will be overturned,” he told GunsAmerica via email.