Thursday, April 5, 2012

NRA-ILA On Wilson V. Cook County

The NRA-ILA released this statement on today's unanimous ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court that reversed in part an Illinois appellate court ruling on the Cook County Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban and remanded it back to the trial court level.
Fairfax, Va. – Today, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously denied an attempt by Cook County, Ill., to dismiss a challenge to the county’s California-style ban on countless types of common semi-automatic firearms. The National Rifle Association supported the case brought by the NRA's state affiliate, the Illinois State Rifle Association.

“We are very pleased with this ruling,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Today’s decision makes clear that the lower courts shouldn’t take challenges to these laws lightly and that plaintiffs deserve a full opportunity for their evidence to be heard.”

In today’s decision, the court reversed a lower appellate court’s ruling that upheld the ban merely because it was supposedly similar to bans that had been upheld elsewhere. But of the three cases cited by the lower court, two relied on “facts” provided in legislative findings and testimony by anti-gun legislators and gun ban lobbyists; the third involved a challenge to federal regulation of fully automatic machine guns, rather than semi-automatic firearms.

Adopting a much more rigorous approach, the Illinois Supreme Court found it couldn’t say the guns banned by Cook County “categorically fall outside the scope of the rights protected by the [Second Amendment].” Therefore, the case will be returned to the trial court for more fact-finding.

Key to the final outcome will be evidence that the guns in question are “in common use” and “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” which are the standards that the U.S. Supreme Court suggested would determine whether a particular type of “arm” falls within the Second Amendment’s protections.

On that issue, the numbers are overwhelming. Based on production statistics published by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, about 3.1 million AR-15 rifles have been made just since 1986, and AR-15s alone made up 4.3 percent of all firearms and 13.3 percent of all rifles sold in the U.S. from 2007 to 2010. The AR-15, of course, is just one of the many firearms banned in Cook County. These figures go to show that Cook County hasn’t just banned “common” guns; it has banned the most popular rifles of our time, used by countless law-abiding Americans for every kind of lawful purpose.


  1. Pretty effin scary that you only have a right if it is being exercised by others. HARDLY the definition of a right. What if too few people, according to some court, exercised the right to choose your religion and it was deemed not "in common use." Proving that an AR is "in common use" will be easy, but it shouldn't matter. The LEAST used firearm is still protected by the 2nd amendment. I guess I just come from a day when the government schools would actually teach what words such as "people" and "infringed" mean (instead of modern relativism where they always ask "what does ____ mean to YOU" to our kids).

  2. Actually, reading these opinions, the case will hinge on being able to prove that these rifles "are in common use" and "are required for self-defense, above all other things" as these anti-gun courts have been re-interpreting Heller to say that only self-defense is a "core" 2nd Amendment right, and that non-handguns are not protected under the 2nd amendment, as only handguns are the "quintessential self-defense weapon". Just look at Heller II for some examples. As such, it is important to note that while in Heller II those that would crush the 2nd amendment call out that 80% of defensive gun uses are with handguns (citing Kleck) we need to point out that according to Bureau of Justice Statistics: Legitimate Sportsmen shared a link.
    In Heller II the Appellate court stated that semi-automatic assault rifles were not suitable for self-defense because 80% of defensive gun uses were with handguns (citing Kleck, Armed Resistance to Crime). However, they failed to look at the flip-side:

    "Handguns accounted for the majority of both homicide and nonfatal firearm violence. A handgun was used in about 83% of all firearm homicides in 1994, compared to 73% in 2011. Other types of firearms, such as shotguns and rifles, accounted for the remainder of firearm homicides. For nonfatal firearm violence, about 9 in 10 were committed with a handgun, and this remained stable from 1994 to 2011."

    "In 2004, an estimated 16% of state prison inmates and 18% of federal inmates reported that they used, carried, or possessed a firearm when they committed the crime for which they were serving a prison sentence. This represented a slight change from 1997, where an estimated 18% of state prison inmates and 16% of federal inmates reported having a firearm when they committed the crime for their current sentence. During the offense that brought them to prison, 13% of state inmates and 16% of federal inmates carried a handgun. In addition, about 1% had a rifle and another 2% had a shotgun. Of inmates armed with a firearm during the offense, about 7% of state inmates and 8% of federal inmates were armed with either a single shot firearm or a conventional semiautomatic, and 2% of state inmates and 3% of federal inmates were armed with a military-style semiautomatic or fully automatic firearm."