(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday has declined to block Illinois’ assault weapons ban from being enforced as a legal challenge continues, handing a win to gun safety advocates at a time when the nation is grappling with a surge of mass shootings and gun violence.
The single page order had no noted dissents.
After the 2022 Highland Park shooting, in which a gunman armed with an AR-15 and 30-round magazines killed seven people and wounded 48, the state and several cities enacted new restrictions against the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery or importation of assault-style firearms and high-capacity magazines.
The laws immediately drew a legal challenge from gun owners and gun shops in the state.
Lower courts had declined to block enforcement of the law in the meantime. The case is set to be heard by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming months.
The gun rights advocates say theirs is an “exceedingly simple case” and that the Illinois laws violate the Second Amendment under the Supreme Court’s standard set forth last year in New York State Rifle and Pistol Assn v. Bruen. They say the plaintiffs want to keep and bear arms for a lawful purpose — defense of their home — and that there is no founding era precedent to ban an entire category of arms.
The state says it’s far from clear that its laws are unconstitutional. They argue that gun owners who possessed assault weapons prior to the law can continue to do so lawfully, but must submit an affidavit to State Police attesting to prior purchase.
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