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US Supreme Court is Again Asked to Block Illinois Assault Weapons Ban

FILE PHOTO: A man examines an AR-10 for sale at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center Gun Show, after the state of Illinois passed its "assault weapons" ban into law, in Belleville, Illinois, U.S., January 14, 2023. REUTERS/Kate Munsch/File Photo

An Illinois firearms retailer and a national gun rights group on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a second time to block a Democratic-backed state ban on assault-style rifles and large capacity magazines enacted after a deadly mass shooting in Chicago’s Highland Park suburb in 2022.

The National Association for Gun Rights, Robert Bevis and his firearms store, Law Weapons & Supply, made the request after a lower court denied their bid for a preliminary injunction against the ban, as well as a similar ban enacted by another Chicago suburb, Naperville.

The plaintiffs also asked the Supreme Court for an injunction at an earlier stage of the case, but were rebuffed in May.

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

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. That ruling also required gun restrictions to be “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” in order to comply with the Second Amendment.

Source: Reuters