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Supreme Court Declines to Block Ill. Assault Rifle Ban

Thursday, 14 December 2023 02:45 PM EST

The Supreme Court on Thursday again declined to block a Democratic-backed state ban in Illinois on assault-style rifles and large capacity magazines enacted after a deadly mass shooting in Chicago's Highland Park suburb in 2022, rejecting a renewed request by a firearms retailer and a national gun rights group.

The justices' action leaves the law in place pending an appeal by the National Association for Gun Rights, Robert Bevis, and his firearms store, Law Weapons & Supply of a lower court's decision. It denied their bid for a preliminary injunction against the ban, as well as a similar ban enacted by another Chicago suburb, Naperville.

No justice publicly dissented from the decision. The Supreme Court also rebuffed the plaintiffs' request for an injunction at an earlier stage of the case in May.

Illinois passed the ban in response to a massacre at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park in 2022 that killed seven people and wounded dozens.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act, signed into law in January by Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, banned the sale and distribution of many kinds of high-powered semiautomatic "assault weapons," including AK-47 and AR-15 rifles, as well as magazines that take more than 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns.

The National Association for Gun Rights, billed as a group that accepts "no compromise on the issue of gun control," as well as Bevis and his store, challenged Naperville's ordinance restricting the sale of certain assault rifles and the state's broader ban as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, which protects the right to "keep and bear" arms.

The case is one of several contesting the state's ban in federal and state courts.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 3 ruled against the challengers, finding that the bans were likely lawful in part because the Second Amendment applies to weapons meant for individual self-defense, not the military.

Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the 7th Circuit found, "are much more like machine guns and military-grade weaponry than they are like the many different types of firearms that are used for individual self-defense."

The availability of assault-style rifles is one of numerous contentious debates in a nation bitterly divided over how to address firearms violence including frequent mass shootings.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, has taken an expansive view of the Second Amendment, broadening gun rights in three landmark rulings since 2008.

In 2022, the court recognized a constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self defense, striking down a New York state law.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


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The Supreme Court on Thursday again declined to block a Democrat-backed state ban in Illinois on assault-style rifles and large capacity magazines enacted after a deadly mass shooting in Chicago's Highland Park suburb in 2022.
supreme court, ban, illinois, asssault rifle
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Thursday, 14 December 2023 02:45 PM
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