Justice Barrett Won’t Block Illinois Assault Weapons Ban for Now

May 17, 2023

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday denied an emergency request to block Illinois and a Chicago suburb from enforcing their respective assault weapons bans while the case is heard in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Justice Barrett hears applications from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit, which put the decision regarding the emergency injunction request under her authority.

The case National Association for Gun Rights v City of Naperville challenges an ordinance in that city along with an Illinois state law, both of which ban assault weapons. The state law also prohibits the sale of a “large capacity ammunition feeding device,” defined as gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition or handguns that hold more than 15 bullets.

The plaintiffs include a gun shop owner and a gun rights group. They say the bans violate their 2nd Amendment rights. 

Justice Barrett’s decision came one day after the Illinois State Supreme Court heard a separate challenge on the assault weapons ban.

It also comes one day after the U.S. experienced its 224th mass shooting this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines the crime as four or more people killed or injured by gunfire. The nation’s 209th mass shooting took place in Chicago, where two men in their 20s were pronounced dead on the scene and two others were wounded just after 5:30pm this past Thursday.

Hundreds of mothers were in Springfield on Tuesday to push for gun safety legislation. About 50 of them were from Chicago.

The case currently before the 7th Circuit, if ultimately decided in the plaintiffs’ favor, has the potential to legalize assault weapons nationwide.

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