U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to Illinois’ assault weapons ban, for now

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Illinois’ assault weapons ban on Tuesday, but Justice Clarence Thomas said in a separate statement he is hopeful the high court will hear the case once lower courts have rendered final decisions – and he is skeptical that it will withstand constitutional scrutiny. (Highlights added to an excerpt of Thomas’ statement)

One justice says he hopes high court will hear the matter once lower courts issue decisions

Capitol News Illinois
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The Illinois ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines will remain in place, at least for now. 

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will not take up any of the pending challenges to the law until the cases have been fully heard in lower courts. 

Illinois lawmakers enacted the ban last year in response to a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park in 2022 that left seven people dead and dozens more injured. 

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

A federal judge in southern Illinois put a temporary hold on the law in March of last year. But the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed that decision, allowing the law to remain in effect while various challenges are heard. 

The announcement by the Supreme Court leaves the appellate court’s order in place as challenges progress.

In a separate statement, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas said he doubts the law will withstand constitutional scrutiny, and he hopes the court will hear the case once the lower courts render final decisions. But he also said the high court should clarify what kinds of firearms are protected by the Second Amendment.

This story will be updated.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of print and broadcast outlets 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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