A challenge to Cook County’s assault weapons ban is headed back to trial court after the Supreme Court ruled Thursday the ban can be challenged. Trial and appellate courts said there was not enough evidence that the ban infringes on Second Amendment rights and dismissed the case. The Supreme Court, however, ordered the case, Wilson vs. Cook County, be heard in trial court.
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National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde says Cook County wants to interpret the Second Amendment as it was conceived 200 years ago, when modern weapons such as semi-automatic rifles didn’t exist. But many courts modernize interpretations of, for example, the First Amendment. “The First Amendment protects modern forms of speech, including the internet,” he says. “If we were to take a First Amendment view the way the county wants to view the Second Amendment, we’d be left with nothing more than printing presses.” Cook County’s assault weapon ban covers widely manufactured weapons, such as Glock handguns, that can be modified to hold more than 10 rounds. Opponents of the ban contend Cook County’s ordinance bans more weapons than similar bans that were struck down in District of Columbia vs. Heller, which overturned the Washington, D.C. handgun ban, and McDonald v. City of Chicago, which struck down Chicago’s handgun ban.