HIGHLAND PARK, ILLINOIS — Attorneys for Highland Park say that the pro-gun group that filed a lawsuit to overturn the city’s ban on assault weapons doesn’t have the right to do so should be taken out of the case.
A law in Highland Park defined “assault weapons” almost ten years ago and made it illegal to have them in town.
In 2015, a federal appeals court upheld the local gun bans, and the U.S. Supreme Court did not review them later that year. Since then, records show that about a dozen people have been fined for breaking the ban on assault weapons in the city.
The city was sued on September 7 by the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) and Susan Karen Goldman. On March 8, there will be a hearing on their request for a preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the ban on assault weapons.
According to their complaint, Goldman, who was said to live in Highland Park and own an assault weapon, was “especially upset” that the City’s rules meant she had to store her weapons outside the city limits.
On Thursday, lawyers for the city filed a response to Goldman’s claims and a motion to throw out all of the association’s claims, saying that the nonprofit pro-gun group hadn’t shown that it had “associational standing.”
“In short, the case must involve an injury to at least one of the association’s members. If not, groups that support a cause could ask the court to rule on it. “In a memo, lead lawyer David Hoffman said that he agreed with the motion. “Yes, that’s exactly what NAGR did here.”
The lawsuit was filed a little over two months after the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in Illinois history happened in the city. Authorities say a 21-year-old man who dropped out of high school fired more than 80 bullets from a Smith & Wesson M&P15, killing seven people and hurting about 50 others.
The president of the Gun Rights Association, Dudley Brown, said that his group was going after every federal court circuit where firearm bans had been upheld in the past. This is because the Supreme Court overturned New York’s strict state concealed weapons restrictions earlier this year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.
Hoffman noted that NAGR failed to identify any member in Highland Park or allege it has any presence in town, although it claims it represents the interests of those affected by the gun ban.
“In the weeks and months since Bruen, NAGR has filed ten copycat cases challenging laws prohibiting assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, including this one, with virtually identical allegations,” Hoffman said.
“NAGR does not claim that it has the standing to bring this suit in its own right; it does not allege any injury to itself as an entity. Instead, it claims only that it has associational standing to sue ‘in its capacity as a representative of its members,'” the attorney said.
“But NAGR’s allegations do not show that it meets the requirements for associational standing. Specifically, NAGR has failed to allege facts sufficient to identify at least one member with standing to bring the claims it has asserted,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman, the global co-leader of the government litigation and investigations practice at the firm Sidley Austin, pointed out that Goldman herself did not assert membership in the group.
The gun rights nonprofit also lacks standing to ask for money because that would require the participation of its members., he argued.
In response to Goldman’s remaining claims in the complaint, attorneys for the city asserted that the City Code does not violate the Second Amendment, that the complaint fails to state a cause of action and that Goldman and the NAGR “are not entitled to any damages, costs, fees, or other relief of any kind.”
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