The National Rifle Association (NRA) is throwing its weight behind a lawsuit targeting the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois, which recently passed an ordinance banning assault-style weapons from city limits.
Deerfield’s Village Board of Trustees approved the ban, which also targets high-capacity magazines, on Monday, in a unanimous vote. According to the Chicago Tribune, the new ordinance amends a previous rule regulating the storage of such weapons, prohibiting “the possession, sale and manufacturing of certain types of assault weapons and large capacity magazines within the village.”
Those found in violation of the new ordinance may face a fine of up to $1,000 per day, beginning on June 13.
The decision has already been lauded by many, with some citing the young survivors of last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, who sparked a nationwide gun reform movement.
“This is our generation’s fight,” Deerfield High School student Ariella Kharasch told the Tribune, praising the move. “We’re going to keep fighting and this is part of it. Change happens gradually step by step. The fight does not end at the borders of our village.”
Deerfield trustees themselves highlighted a spate of recent mass shootings in their rationale, including the Stoneman Douglas shooting on February 14, which left 17 dead; the Sutherland Springs shooting in Texas last November, which left 26 dead; the Las Vegas shooting in October that left 58 dead; and the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016, which left 49 people dead.
Your #NRA announced support for a lawsuit brought by Guns Save Life challenging the Village of Deerfield, Illinois’ gun confiscation ordinance. #DefendTheSecond #2A #NRA Read our statement here ➡️ https://t.co/Oiw2pylVhX pic.twitter.com/0l44Pk9nAS
— NRA (@NRA) April 5, 2018
In just a week, the ordinance is already facing resistance.
“There’s an ancient and honored American tradition called disobeying an unjust law,” said Joel Siegel, a resident of nearby Lincolnwood. According to the Tribune, Siegel claimed foreign governments had banned guns in their own countries and then used them on “defenseless” citizens, warning residents that the same might happen in the United States.
“I have urged (people) to listen to their conscience and if so moved do not obey this law,” he said.
Siegel and others like him who oppose the new ordinance found themselves in luck on Wednesday, after the NRA announced it would support a lawsuit filed against the city by the group Guns Save Life, to overturn the measure.
“Every law-abiding villager of Deerfield has the right to protect themselves, their homes, and their loved ones with the firearm that best suits their needs,” NRA executive Chris Cox, the organization’s chief lobbyist and political strategist, said in a statement. “The National Rifle Association is pleased to assist Gun Save Life in defense of this freedom.”
Guns Save Life president John Boch claimed the new ordinance violated gun-owners’ Second Amendment rights.
“We are going to fight this ordinance, which clearly violates our member’s constitutional rights, and with the help of the NRA I believe we can secure a victory for law-abiding gun owners in and around Deerfield,” he said in a statement.
The lawsuit is among the first the NRA has supported publicly since the Parkland shooting. In March, the gun lobbying group also filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida, which recently raised the minimum age for firearm purchases from 18 to 21. At the time, Cox claimed the decision treated young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 as “second-class citizens” and unfairly targeted young women, who he said were “much less likely to engage in violent crime than older members of the general population.”
“Swift action is needed to prevent young adults in Florida from being treated as second-class citizens when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms,” he said. “We are confident that the courts will vindicate our view that Florida’s ban is a blatant violation of the Second Amendment.”
There was a national ban on assault weapons in place for 10 years which courts found did not infringe on the Second Amendment.
President Trump, who has received millions in outside funding from the NRA over the years, previously supported raising the minimum purchasing age from 18 to 21, but later buckled under pressure, after meeting with NRA executives at the White House.
The White House maintains that the president is still in favor of the idea.