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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.
The facade of the Supreme Court building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.