Supreme Court Justice May Block Illinois Ban on Assault Rifles

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Gun rights advocates say courts can't decide automatic rifles aren't entitled to protection under Second Amendment

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is deliberating whether to halt the enforcement of Illinois' assault weapons ban amid proceedings in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The 7th Circuit panel recently ruled that AR-15s are not covered by the Second Amendment, sparking a legal debate over the Illinois ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, alongside a local ordinance in Naperville. These measures were enacted following a mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park last year, which killed seven people and injured dozens more. They initially faced temporary blocks by the courts but are currently in effect.

The National Association for Gun Rights contends that both laws infringe on the Second Amendment, filing an injunction referencing the 2022 Bruen decision and aligning with Justice Barrett's stance.

Hannah Hill, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, criticizes the 7th Circuit's assertion that ARs lack Second Amendment protection. Dudley Brown, President of NAGR, expresses confidence that Justice Barrett will not uphold what he deems an unconstitutional law.

In the customary Supreme Court process, Justice Barrett, assigned to handle injunction applications from the Appellate Circuit, seeks more information from the state and city as of May 1, 2023. The state argues against considering the injunction, citing the plaintiffs' failure to demonstrate potential success—a prerequisite for granting injunctions.

Justice Barrett has not disclosed the timeline for her decision or indicated whether she will involve the full court in the consideration.


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