May 19, 2024

On Monday, the pro-Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America and their affiliate, the Gun Owners Foundation, filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to forward their challenge to Illinois’s restrictive “assault weapons” law.


 The groups, representing Illinois gun owners, argue the law imposes an unconstitutional, sweeping ban on hundreds of commonly owned and lawfully used rifles and ammunition magazines. 

“GOA has been at the forefront of this challenge since before the bans even took effect, and while our goal was never to have to end up before the Supreme Court, we were fully prepared to do so,” said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America. 

“We urge the Justices to hear the pleas of millions of Americans in Illinois and several other states nationwide who cannot purchase many of the commonly owned semiautomatic firearms available today because of the unconstitutional laws passed by anti-gun politicians,” Pratt said. 

The constitutionality argument is especially interesting, coming as it does after the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, which is generally regarded as having recognized the original meaning of the Second Amendment and has been the cause of much rewriting of laws around concealed carry. Even before Bruen, concealed-carry laws had been on a liberalization trend for some years, in fact since Florida passed the first “shall-issue” law in 1987.

See Related: South Carolina Prepares to Join the Ranks of ‘Constitutional Carry’ States 


Justice Jackson’s Comment About Bump Stocks Just May Be the Most Ignorant Thing You’ve Ever Heard

Illinois, not surprisingly, has one of the most draconian “assault weapons” laws in the United States.

The strict gun control law, signed by Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last year, carries penalties for anyone who, “Carries or possesses… Manufactures, sells, delivers, imports, or purchases any assault weapon or .50 caliber rifle.”  

Those who legally possess a banned weapon under the law must register it with the Illinois State Police.

The law also includes statutory penalties for anyone who “sells, manufactures, delivers, imports, possesses, or purchases any assault weapon attachment or .50 caliber cartridge.”

The law appears to have sparked considerable non-compliance, and deliberate civil disobedience may be part of that trend.

Of the over 2.4 million Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cardholders, there have only been 112,350 disclosures filed as of Dec. 31, 2023, according to state police data. Another 29,357 disclosures were in the process of being completed as of Jan. 6.

Gun rights activists previously told Fox News Digital that apparent high rates of noncompliance came from a mix of ignorance of what the law requires and civil disobedience.


The Illinois definition of “assault weapon” is just about as ridiculous as one might suspect, having been written and voted on by politicians who know next to nothing about firearms and their function. The list of proscribed features on semi-auto rifles includes:

  • A pistol grip or thumbhole stock, which does nothing to increase the controllability or rate of fire of the weapon, and which has no bearing on the power of the cartridge.
  • Any feature “capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand.” See above.
  • A folding, telescoping, thumbhole, or detachable stock. This may – possibly – make the weapon more concealable, but is detrimental to accuracy and ease of handling.
  • A flash suppressor. If the people who wrote this law knew anything about rifles, they would know that a flash suppressor makes no difference in the firing signature of the weapon by an observer; these are designed to reduce the muzzle flash’s effect on the shooter.
  • A grenade launcher. These are National Firearms Act (NFA) items and are controlled in the same manner as fully-auto weapons.
  • A shroud attached to the barrel or that partially or completely encircles the barrel.

Any rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has one or more of these features is proscribed by Illinois law. Here’s the catch: A rifle like the Ruger Mini-14, which is offered with a non-scary wood stock and with none of the features described above, may well be perfectly legal while being functionally identical to an AR- or AK-pattern rifle with all of the above features.


This is what happens when gun laws are written by people who know nothing about guns.

The Gun Owner’s Foundation’s Sam Paredes said this about the case:

“We are optimistic the justices will choose to hear the case and make clear once and for all that ‘assault weapons’ bans on tens of millions of commonly owned rifles are wholly out of line with the Second Amendment.”  

We can hope, in the light of the Bruen decision, that the Supreme Court will drive a stake through the heart of this nonsense once and for all.

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