Gun rights groups ask SCOTUS to review Illinois’ assault weapons ban

Pictured is the front page of the National Association for Gun Rights’ petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a review of Illinois’ assault weapons ban.

Capitol News Illinois
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SPRINGFIELD – In a long-expected move, national gun rights organizations are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Illinois’ ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

In separate petitions filed Monday, the Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights and the Nevada-based Firearms Policy Coalition asked the nation’s high court to reverse a decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court ruled 2-1 in November not to issue a temporary injunction against the law, finding that rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution are not absolute.

Read more: What to know about Illinois’ assault weapons ban

The gun rights groups were among the lead plaintiffs in two of the many federal lawsuits that have been filed beginning almost immediately after state lawmakers passed the ban in January 2023.

The ban came in reaction to numerous mass shootings around the country in which gunmen used high-power, rapid-fire rifles with large capacity magazines. Among those was a 2022 mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park that left seven people dead and dozens more injured and traumatized.

The National Association for Gun Rights backed a suit originally filed in the Northern District of Illinois challenging both the statewide ban and a local assault weapons ban enacted by the city of Naperville. In February 2023, a federal judge in that case refused to grant a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law pending the outcome of a trial in the case.

The Firearms Policy Coalition backed a separate suit in the Southern District of Illinois that also had support from the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation. A judge there granted a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the law, saying the ban likely violated the Second Amendment.

Both of those cases, along with others, were part of a consolidated appeal before a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit, which ruled 2-1 in November not to block enforcement of the law. 

Read more: Federal appeals court upholds Illinois’ assault weapons ban | U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block assault weapons ban as full legal challenges progress | SCOTUS denies one appeal of assault weapons ban while another waits in the wings

Another petition seeking to overturn an assault weapons ban in Maryland was filed Feb, 9. The court has not yet announced whether it will hear any of the appeals.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.


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