Town's new ban on 'assault weapons' becomes target of multiple lawsuits

The village of Deerfield, Illinois passed an anti-gun ordinance Monday, and by the end of the week was facing legal challenges.

Deerfield’s Village Board went all-in on a local law to fine those with “assault weapons” and detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds inside the city’s limits as much as $1,000 a day. This sparked the promise of a lawsuit from two gun rights groups Wednesday and the materialization of separate litigation filed Thursday by a Deerfield resident backed by another pair of Second Amendment organizations. With the ban set to take effect in 60 days, advocates felt time was of the essence.

“We moved swiftly to challenge this gun ban because it flies in the face of state law,” said Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. Gottlieb’s group, along with the Illinois State Rifle Association, is supporting a lawsuit by Deerfield resident and gun owner Daniel Easterday against the Chicago suburb’s pending new regulations.

At the root of the case is the legality of Deerfield enacting local controls over guns. As a byproduct of Illinois passing a concealed carry reform law in 2013, a 10-day window allowed cities and counties in the state to pass their own ordinances establishing restrictions on firearms and ammunition. Dozens did, including Deerfield whose board at the time adopted a law regulating how some guns were stored in the city. Once the window closed, state law preempted future ordinances, a point the lawsuit filed Thursday holds as legal kryptonite to Deerfield’s new ban, which the city maintains is just an expansion of their prior regulations.

“While the village is trying to disguise this as an amendment to an existing ordinance, it is, in fact, a new law that entirely bans possession of legally-owned semi-auto firearms, with no exception for guns previously owned, or any provision for self-defense,” said Gottlieb.

In addition to the suit from Easterday, the National Rifle Association and Guns Save Life have also announced plans to file legal action against Deerfield.

As for the village, Deerfield posted a statement Thursday saying the board “believes it has acted within its statutory authority and will be evaluating the suit in order to respond appropriately.”

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