Court upholds Illinois county's assault weapons ban

Court upholds Illinois county's assault weapons ban
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A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the assault rifle ban in Cook County, Ill. 

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the suit was too similar to a previous failed suit against the city of Highland Park, which is about 25 miles north of Chicago, according to The Chicago Tribune

The three-judge panel wrote that the plaintiffs “have not come forward with a compelling reason to revisit our previous decision” in the Highland Park case, according to the Tribune. 

The plaintiffs were gun owners Troy Edhlund and Matthew Wilson who argued the county's ban against weapons and large-capacity magazines could apply to nearly all semi-automatic weapon, which they said violated Second Amendment rights.  

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The suit had been originally dismissed last year by Judge Manish Shah, the Tribune reported. 

Edhlund and Wilson reportedly argued that it was dismissed in error because of differences in crimes facing Cook County and Highland Park, an affluent city in the in the nearby Lake County.

The appellate judges, Kenneth Ripple, David Hamilton and Amy St. Eve, wrote that their decision was not based on crime rates, according to the the newspaper. 

“Our discussion of self-defense focused instead on the availability of other means for citizens to defend themselves,” they determined.  “This is a question answered by the particular locality’s laws, not by its crime rates.”

According to the Tribune, Edhlund and Wilson unsuccessfully challenged the county law in state court in suit filed in 2007. They refiled in federal court in 2017. 

Cook County includes Chicago and many of its suburbs.  

Gun legislation has reentered the public spotlight after a pair of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio earlier this month left 31 people dead. Many Democrats have called for a ban on assault weapons in response. Some Republicans, meanwhile, have championed "red flag" laws which would allow law enforcement to seize weapons from those deemed in court to be a danger to themselves or others.