1 of 4 | Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, holds a sign showing the price of an automatic weapon during a press conference after a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled 'After the Highland Park Attack: Protecting Our Committees from Mass Shootings' at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC in July 2022. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court in Illinois upheld a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, saying "even the most important personal freedoms have their limits." The case is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a 2-1 vote, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday the Protect Illinois Communities Act does not violate the Second Amendment. The three-panel jury overturned a lower court ruling in April that found the state law unconstitutional.
The ban, signed into law in early January, prohibits the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines and requires existing owners of the weapons to register them with the Illinois State Police.
"Government may punish a deliberately false fire alarm; it may condition free assembly on the issuance of a permit; it may require voters to present a valid identification card; and it may punish child abuse even if it is done in the name of religion. The right enshrined in the Second Amendment is no different," the majority opinion stated in the ruling.
Gov. JB Pritzker said the ruling was "common sense" and urged other lawmakers to take similar actions.
"This is a victory for the members of the General Assembly who stood alongside families, students and survivors who worked so hard to make this day a reality. Now Congress must act so Illinois is not an island surrounded by states with weak protections," he said.
The law, passed in response to a shooting at a July 4th parade that left seven dead, has been challenged in state and federal courts. In April, a U.S. district court judge ruled the ban was unconstitutional, but the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on the ruling.
In the most recent ruling, the panel said the question regarding which "arms" can be kept by individuals still needs to be worked out.
"Everyone can agree that a personal handgun, used for self-defense, is one of those Arms that law-abiding citizens must be free to 'keep and bear.' Everyone can also agree, we hope, that a nuclear weapon such as the now-retired M388 Davy Crockett system, with its 51-pound W54 warhead, can be reserved for the military, even though it is light enough for one person to carry," the panel wrote. "Many weapons, however, lie between these extremes."