CHICAGO — A gun rights group has filed its first lawsuit against one of the Illinois communities that rushed to pass an assault weapons ban before a state law allowed people to carry concealed weapons in public, and the group strongly hinted Friday that the lawsuit will not be its last.
“I am not at liberty to talk about (other possible lawsuits), but let’s just say we’re always working,” said Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, which joined the lawsuit filed by a Highland Park pediatrician against the well-to-do community north of Chicago. “We are going after them wherever they are.”
In the lawsuit, the rifle association and Dr. Arie Friedman, a pediatrician and owner of semi-automatic weapons, contend that Highland Park, where Friedman lives, did not have a legal right to ban the weapons that he says he keeps for the lawful purposes of target shooting and self-defense.
Further, the lawsuit suggests that by lumping in the kinds of semi-automatic weapons Friedman owns with fully automatic assault weapons, the ban infringes on the rights of people to possess one of the most commonly owned “sporting rifles” in the United States.
“Ownership of firearms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes ... is a fundamental right under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” according to the lawsuit. Friedman did not immediately return calls for comment on the lawsuit.
Highland Park, which had the case moved to federal court this week, saying the only issue is the constitutionality of its ban, argues that it is on solid legal ground. Steven Elrod, the community’s attorney and a partner with Holland & Knight, the law firm handling the case, said that the U.S. Supreme Court, in striking down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban in 2008 allowed for certain types of weapons to be banned.