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Judge issues restraining order preventing Illinois city from confiscating its citizens' guns
A state circuit court judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Village of Deerfield from enforcing an ordinance that would force residents to turn in all assault weapons and high capacity magazines for confiscation or modification by the city. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

Judge issues restraining order preventing Illinois city from confiscating its citizens' guns

An Illinois circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday preventing an Illinois city from enforcing an ordinance that would have required its residents to turn in their "assault weapons" to the city on Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

What's the background?

The Village of Deerfield passed an ordinance April 2 that outlawed all "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines. The ordinance gave residents of Deerfield until June 13 to either remove their rifles from Deerfield or turn them in to the city for confiscation or modification. Residents who failed to comply faced a fine of up to $1,000 per day.

A number of gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association and Guns Save Lives, filed suit to prevent enforcement of the ordinance, arguing that Deerfield exceeded its authority under Illinois state law and the United States Constitution in implementing the ban. Also, a separate lawsuit was filed against the city by resident Daniel Easterday with the backing of the Second Amendment Foundation, according to the Tribune.

In 2013, Illinois passed the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which made gun regulation the exclusive province of the state government and forbade all municipalities from implementing any new gun regulations; however, the law provided a 10-day window after it took effect for cities to enact an assault weapons ban, if they wanted to do so.

Deerfield did not avail themselves of the opportunity to do so at the time, but the city's attorneys argued in court that the April 2 ordinance was an amendment to a prior Deerfield ordinance that was passed within the time frame.

What does the injunction mean?

For now, the city will not be able to enforce the ordinance, at least until the court can hear the legal arguments on the merits. According to WBBM-TV, the city has promised to abide by the restraining order and not enforce the ordinance during the pendency of the lawsuit.

But a city spokesman stated, "We are certainly going to review all of the options, including the right to appeal the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court."

It is still possible that the courts will ultimately rule against the plaintiffs and decide that the ordinance did not violate Illinois law or the U.S. Constitution, and that Deerfield residents will ultimately be forced to give up their guns.

However, as long as the restraining order remains in place, residents of the city will not have to turn in their guns for confiscation or modification by the city.

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