The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on an attempt to overturn Cook County’s ban on so-called assault weapons. The ordinance bans weapons with large capacity magazines that hold 10 or more bullets, or those with rapid-fire capabilities. Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Castiglione contends such weapons are not constitutionally protected.
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"The Second Amendment protections are only extended to weapons typically possessed for self-defense,” he says. “The key point here is there’s not a fundamental right to own a weapon of one’s choice.” Attorney Edward Ronkowski contends popular weapons, such as Glocks, can be modified to accommodate such banned magazines – and the ordinance is vague in dealing with such situations. “The clip magazines that have more than 10 rounds in it make [a Glock] illegal,” says Ronkowski. “When you start categorizing up all those things, you find the Cook County ordinance bans more firearms than the firearm bans that were struck down in Heller and McDonald.” Heller refers to the case District of Columbia, et. al vs. Dick Anthony Heller, which decided the Second Amendment guarantees a citizen’s right to own a firearm unconnected to military service, with the primary purpose of self-protection. McDonald refers to Otis McDonald, et. al., vs. City of Chicago, Illinois, et. al., which overturned Chicago’s handgun ban on Second Amendment grounds. The case heard Wednesday was Wilson vs. Cook County. A circuit court, and subsequently appellate court, threw the case out in 2010. But the Supreme Court ordered reconsideration after Chicago’s outright handgun ban was overturned. The appellate court came to the same conclusion this time, and that decision is now being appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.
It will likely be several months before the court issues a ruling.