Ill ruling: are "assault weapons" firearms in "common use"
In Wilson v. State, at 15-19 (I have the link open in one window, but it doesn't work in another), the Illinois Supreme Court remands to the lower court to determine that and a number of other questions. It notes that Cook County's AW ban is not like a handgun ban, in that handguns are the quintessential self-protection weapon, nor can it say from the record whether they are or are not "“dangerous and unusual weapons” that are “not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.”" So it remands for a hearing on these issues. It's very interesting that the court repeatedly notes there is no uniform definition of "assault weapon," so that statements about "assault weapons" in general are mostly meaningless, and that the court discusses whether the "dangerous or unusual weapon" concept was meant to be broad or narrow ("no flamethrowers allowed").
All this indicates the court is taking the right to arms issue quite seriously; if otherwise, it could just have brushed everything off with "this only bans assault weapons, which we all know must be terrible things, or they wouldn't have a name like that."
Hat tip to Gene Hoffman of CalGuns.
Here is at least one problem with the "common use" test: Say you have a new technology development in firearms and it has the potential to completely change what people use for self protection. How can it ever become "common use" if you ban it because it isn't in the "common use?!"
If we think about how the 1911 transitioned people from revolvers to semi-autos, we'd all be using 6 shooters today if the "common use" test applied. The same can be said for automatic rifles vs. bolt actions. Would automatic rifles be in "common use" if it weren't for the heavy restrictions and taxes placed on them, aside from the fact that production for non-military / LEO has been outlawed? Based on how many semi-automatic rifles out there, without a doubt, "yes!"
From the same standpoint, the argument fails for "dangerous, or unusual weapons" as well as "not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes." They would fall under the categories as such more than likely because there is a statutory, regulatory, or financial hurdle hindering ownership by law-abiding citizens.
The court is perpetuating a self-fulfilling logical fallacy.
Posted by: Cory Brickner at April 5, 2012 11:36 AM
One more thing I forgot to add: Is not the very definition of a weapon, "dangerous?" How could it be otherwise?
Posted by: Cory Brickner at April 5, 2012 11:39 AM
Will the court ultimately understand that the 1994 Clinton definition of assault weapon was purely cosmetic. Is the AR15 firing the same caliber round as the Ruger Mini 14 really more dangerous and/or unusual because of a folding stock or a bayonet lug?
Having a choice, I would rather be shot at from 100 yards by an AR 15 than a 1903 Springfield, any day of the week.
This is so silly. I am sometimes overwhelmed by ignorance and emotionally based stupidity.
Posted by: Chuck at April 5, 2012 04:09 PM
CA's ban on on rifles with detachable magazines if they have a pistol grip or a collapsable stock forced me into using an M1A for home defense.
I don't think they thought that through.
Posted by: Jim D. at April 5, 2012 07:12 PM
Common use by our employees the military and the police? I guess then whatever they use must be good for the rest of us.
Posted by: RKV at April 5, 2012 09:10 PM
Jim D.: what's the limit on magazine size for your M1A?
I've often thought that if, God forbid, I had to move back to Massachusetts I'd get another Garand re-barreled in .308/7.62 NATO (a gun I really regret selling, even if it made sense then and now, it's rather heavy for my typed for too many years arms). Its en-block clip of 8 rounds neatly avoids all those 10 round mag limitations.
Posted by: Harold at April 6, 2012 08:46 AM