In talking to my wife this morning, she was telling me how angry she got reading about Judge Easterbrook and Illinois’ continual attack on the Second Amendment. She couldn’t understand why they kept doing what they were doing.

There is no need to delve into the “whys” of it, it is not relevant. The only thing that does matter is that there are people who do not want guns in the hands of The People. With that, the game starts.


The starting point is “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Until the National Firearms Act of 1934This is currently embedded in 26 U.S.C I,

In congress, there were robust arguments about how they could pass a law that was a direct infringement on the right of The People to keep and bear arms. In the end, they decided that the only way that they could limit access to evil guns was by taxing them out of the hands of The People.

Remember, this is at a time when the cost of a silencer was under $10. The cost of the Tax Stamp was $200. It still is $200.

This was not a ban. Anybody with enough money could pay for the tax stamp. Early enforcement was more as an “extra” charge put on a criminal when they were caught with an unregistered NFA item. In numerous instances, if a nominally law-abiding person was found with an unregistered NFA item, they were told to register it and that was the end of their interaction.

Today, the anti-gun people are perfectly happy that a tax has become a de facto ban. The cost of regulations and compliance has raised the cost of legally purchasing a silencer to well over $700. I would love to have a couple of cans. I’d love to have at least one can for my squirrel rifle.

In 1968, the Gun Control Act was passed. Again, this was not an outright ban on anything, it was just the state getting between you and your purchase of a firearm.

Which takes us to:

Modern History

In the late 70s moving into the late 90s, the anti-gun movement really picked up speed. The one gun rights organization was more interested in “Keep and bear arms for hunting and sporting” than in “Shall not be infringed”.

It is difficult to really understand what it means to be a lobbyist. It is a full-time job. Furthermore, it requires you to know people, to know who they are, what they like. To know who controls access to whom, and to be able to spend business hours doing nothing but lobbying.

And when the day is done, you get to do some more. Don’t like golf? Tough, learn to play, learn to play well enough to be a challenge but not so good that you make them look bad.

There were people and organizations that had the money to purchase lobbyists. And they were there in the halls of power pushing congress critters towards more and more infringements.

Out of this, multiple infringing laws were passed. These include the AW/LCM ban and all the state and local bans on carrying.

The Courts

There are three levels of courts we are interested in. The District court is the lowest federal court. They report to their Circuit Court of Appeals. In turn, the Circuit Courts report to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court consists of 9 judges. The Circuit courts have at least 9 members and often more.

A District court has a single Judge. They decide the legal questions presented and for all other questions of evidence, a jury is used. The parties can request that the Judge also act as the jury.

The judge decides if the plaintiff(s) have standing. Once that is determined, the case starts moving forward.

The case is documented in the court “docket”. The docket is a record of every official communication between the court and the parties.

Once the case is opened, the defendants will be informed. The defendants then start the process of responding to the accusations. This almost always starts with attacking standing. The goal is to get the case dismissed for procedural reasons.

Here’s the thing, a case dismissed for procedural reasons can be refiled if the procedural error is correct.

This process takes months.

In the simple sequence, the plaintiff (good guys) ask for a Preliminary Injunction with an optional TRO.

The TRO is to stop something from happening until the court can determine if a Preliminary Injunction should be granted. If a preliminary injunction is granted, then that remains in effect until the final opinion is issued. The final order will remove the preliminary injunction and if the plaintiffs win, then a permanent injunction will be put in its place.

The Delay Game

The defendants (bad guys) will often request additional time to brief the case. They will argue about needing more time for experts, and in general, they will drag things out as much as possible. IF there is no injunction against their infringing laws.

If the Preliminary Injunction is requested and the result goes against one party (it almost always will), that party can appeal to the Circuit court for either a Preliminary Injunction, if the District court did not grant it, or a stay, if the District court did grant the injunction.

Cases that are appealed before the final judgement are said to be in an “interlocutory” state. The superior courts do not like to hear appeals of cases that are still in an interlocutory state. They would prefer to wait until all the evidence has been presented and all the arguments and briefs made. The Supreme Court seldom takes up an appeal for a case in interlocutory state.

Regardless, the process of appealing is a great method to create a delay. An appeal to the Circuit court will ask for a stay pending appeal.

So on January 1st, 2020 you file a suit claiming a law infringes on your protected rights.
By the end of January, most of the starting paper work is done, and you’ve moved on to the Preliminary Injunction or Summary Judgement.
The court will schedule arguments. He will give time for the first set of briefings. This seems to be in the 3 to 6 week mark. I’m confident that in more complex cases there is more time given. At the end of that time, there will be time for a response to be filed. About 2 weeks or so, more on larger cases. There is then time for a short response to the response.

There will be time in the schedule for the court to read all the briefings and other submissions. The Oral Arguments will be heard.

At the District level, it seems to take only a couple of weeks before an order is issued.

At this point, you are in late March, mid-April.

Let’s say that the plaintiffs get a preliminary injunction. The state will appeal for an emergency stay from the Circuit court. This request will be evaluated by one judge on the Circuit. Within a few weeks, that temporary stay will be granted.

You are now getting close to May. The Circuit court will then have a three judge administrative panel decide if they will hear the appeal. If they grant the stay on an expedited calendar, that does not mean that there will be an expedited calendar for hearing the appeal.

This was attempted in the Second Circuit court. They granted a stay on an emergency basis. They granted a stay pending the appeal. And then didn’t bother to schedule the appeal. In the normal course of appeals, this could take 6 to 12 months, or more, before the appeal is heard.

During this time, the District case is on hold. There is no reason for them to move forward.

For the first act of the game, you are now into November 2020 when the appeal is heard. After the oral arguments are given, it is going to take months before the circuit court issues the opinion.

Assuming that nobody wants to actually appeal to the Supreme Court, the case is now remanded back to the District court for them to take up where they left off.

You are likely into January 2021 before your case starts moving forward again. In that time frame, massive amounts of papers have been filed by both parties. You might get your case heard by April. The court will then issue its final order a month or more after that.

You are now in it for a year and a half. If the Preliminary Injunction argument is appealed to the Supreme Court, that can take a month or more before they issue their opinion.

And every time a superior court issues an opinion, the inferior court has to start over again. In Duncan v. Bonta, the case was all the way to the Supreme Court. The 9th Cir.’s opinion was vacated, and the case was remanded back to the 9th. There they waited for months before a 3 judge panel decided to vacate the District Court’s order (which was opposite of what the 9th said and what the Supreme Court just vacated.)

The reason for the vacating and remanding is to allow both parties to provide briefs that consider the reason for the case being vacated.

To put this in perspective, we are about 40 days from the one-year anniversary of the Bruen opinion. The current standing is that The People’s ability to get carry permits has gotten better, but the risks in carrying have gone up. Not a single law has been struck down. Not a single case has made its way to the Supreme Court.

Not a single Circuit Court has issued an opinion striking down a weapons ban or a Bruen spasm response bill.

The Seventh Circuit court likely just mooted the need for the Supreme Court to step in on the AW/LCM bans in Illinois.

(more later)

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