Supreme Court Upholds Illinois Semiautomatic Weapons Ban


Illinois Assault Weapons Ban Faces Continued Litigation in Lower Courts

The Supreme Court, for the second time, has chosen not to block Illinois’ ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, allowing the law to proceed and take effect on January 1.

The decision follows the 7th District U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago upholding the law in the face of a gun rights group’s challenge, arguing for a block based on Second Amendment violations.

The National Association for Gun Rights had sought a preliminary injunction from the Supreme Court, but their request was denied without any noted dissents or explanations.

The Illinois law, signed by Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker in January, imposes penalties for individuals engaged in activities related to assault weapons or .50 caliber rifles, such as carrying, possessing, manufacturing, selling, delivering, importing, or purchasing.

The Illinois Supreme Court had previously upheld the law in August, adding to the legal standing of the ban on high-powered semiautomatic weapons. Notably, the Supreme Court’s order on Thursday did not indicate any dissent about their decision.

It is worth mentioning that the same gun rights group and a gun shop owner, who had previously sought an emergency order to impede the law’s enforcement, made a similar request in May, which was ultimately rejected.

The law encompasses statutory penalties for various activities related to assault weapons or .50 caliber cartridges, such as selling, manufacturing, delivering, importing, possessing, or purchasing.

In response to a tragic incident where a legally purchased assault weapon was used to kill seven people and injure dozens during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park last year, legislation was enacted to address the issue.

The law, now upheld by the Supreme Court, prohibits the sale of numerous assault weapons, including the AR-15 style firearm utilized by the Highland Park assailant. It also imposes restrictions on high-capacity magazines, mandates registration with state police for current owners of prohibited weapons, and expedites universal background checks.

Additionally, the ban encompasses any kits or tools designed to increase the fire rate of a semiautomatic weapon, and there are limitations on the purchase of certain magazines outlined in the law.

Following Thursday’s ruling, the law will remain in effect as it undergoes litigation in the lower courts. In response to the decision, the National Association for Gun Rights issued a statement emphasizing their commitment to challenging the ruling.

Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights, expressed the urgency of the matter, stating, “A right delayed is a right denied, and every day these gun bans are enforced is a travesty to freedom. We will be back to the Supreme Court as soon as our legal team finishes drafting our cert petition, and they will have to decide if they really meant what they said in Heller and Bruen.”

In a series of legal proceedings, the assault weapons ban in Illinois faced multiple challenges, yet it withstood each test.

In November, a panel from the 7th District U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a request to block the law, indicating a consistent stance against challenges to its enforcement. Earlier, in August, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the law’s validity in a closely contested 4-3 decision.

These developments highlight the resilience of the legislation against legal opposition, reinforcing its status and impact in Illinois.

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