Gun rights group appeals Illinois assault weapon ban to Supreme Court

ruger AR 15 110717 AP Elaine Thompson

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to review an Illinois’ assault weapons ban that a federal appeals court upheld last year.

The 7th Circuit found in November that the assault weapons ban constitutes a reasonable limit on the Second Amendment, which NAGR challenges.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, this is a very simple case. Under the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Heller and Bruen precedents, you can’t ban so-called ‘assault weapons,’” Hannah Hill, the executive director of NAGR’s legal arm, said in a statement. 

“The 7th Circuit had to actually rule that AR-15s aren’t guns at all in order to uphold the gun ban,” she continued. “That’s how open and shut our case is, and we look forward to the Supreme Court striking down these unconstitutional gun bans once and for all.”

Illinois passed the assault weapons ban last year in response to the Highland Park, Ill., Fourth of July parade shooting in 2022 that killed seven people and injured 48 more. The law specifically bans the sale and distribution of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The writ of certiorari marks the third time the Supreme Court is faced with the Illinois case. Two previous attempts to halt the law under emergency relief were denied in May and December of last year. Qualifications for an emergency ruling are more difficult, so the justices could still agree to hear the case on its normal docket.

NAGR claims in its challenge that the 7th Circuit ruling directly goes against prior court precedent on gun rights. 

The court similarly denied emergency requests for suits challenging New York gun laws last year, but conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said gun rights advocates “should not be deterred” and continue with attempts to strike down state laws.

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