Supreme Court Denies Gun Case on Chicago-Area ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban

Ryan Houston/Getty Images
Ryan Houston/Getty Images

WASHINGTON D.C.—The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a city ordinance in Illinois restricting so-called “assault weapons.” Two justices dissented from the Court’s denying review and noted a disturbing trend against the Second Amendment.

The city of Highland Park is part of the greater Chicago area and has a long track record of opposing citizens exercising the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. Part of this is banning “assault weapons,” which is a term invented by politicians.

Assault weapons are not an actual class of firearms. The term is often confused with “assault rifles,” which are a class of firearms. But for most such bans, “assault weapons” excludes some types of assault rifles and includes guns that are not assault rifles.

Specifically, Highland Park’s ordinance banned assault weapons, as well as ammunition magazines that can hold more than ten rounds. The Supreme Court held in its 2008 Heller case and its 2010 McDonald case that the Second Amendment is an individual right to bear arms that applies to all federal, state, and local laws and is a right on the same level as First Amendment rights.

“Despite these holdings, several Courts of Appeals—including the… Seventh Circuit in the decision below—have upheld categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting from the Court’s denial of review and instead arguing that the Supreme Court should have reviewed this case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit had read Heller and McDonald very narrowly. Noting that those two Supreme Court cases involved citizens who wanted to keep a handgun at home for self-defense, by a 2-1 vote, the Chicago-based appeals court held that the Supreme Court’s decision only covered handguns and “weapons that were common at the time of ratification [1791] or those [related] to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

Thomas was incredulous at the lower court’s decision, explaining that the Supreme Court’s decision excluded “only those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” Semi-automatic rifles are such typical firearms, and high-capacity magazines can be used with handguns. “Because noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents warrants this Court’s attention as much as any of our precedents, I would grant certiorari in this case,” Thomas added.

The challengers were represented by Cooper Kirk, a high-powered conservative D.C. law firm led by legal heavyweights Charles Cooper and David Thompson, who have been instrumental in Second Amendment cases nationwide.

Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.


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