Supreme Court declines to block Illinois gun restrictions

Illinois gun store owner’s suit said law violates the Second Amendment

The facade of the Supreme Court building.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The facade of the Supreme Court building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted May 17, 2023 at 1:48pm

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to block an Illinois ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines as a challenge to the new law moves through the courts.

In a one-sentence order, the justices declined a request from an Illinois gun store owner and a gun rights group to block the state law they contend violates the Second Amendment right to possess firearms. The court did not provide an explanation for the decision.

A judge in a separate challenge had ordered the law stopped, but a federal appeals court reversed that decision earlier this month.

State lawmakers passed the law following a mass shooting during a 4th of July parade in a Chicago suburb last year.

Gun store owner Robert Bevis and the National Association for Gun Rights, in a filing urging the justices to step in, had argued that there “cannot be the slightest question” that Illinois’ restrictions violate the Second Amendment. They pointed to a 2022 ruling in which justices struck down New York’s law about who can carry a concealed weapon.

That case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, was intended to be “a course correction and a reminder to the lower courts that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right,” the gun store owner and the gun rights group wrote in a court filing.

The order Wednesday is the latest of several high-profile challenges that followed the Supreme Court ruling, which marked a change in the court’s approach to the Second Amendment. The ruling underscored that laws restricting gun possession had to be based on historical examples.

In the case involving Bevis, a district court judge said the Illinois law was “constitutionally sound” and found that assault weapons were a kind of “particularly dangerous weapon” that could be banned.