Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Supreme Court Allows Ban on Assault-Weapons Sales to Remain in Place Pending Appeal
The Supreme Court today denied an application to halt bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines by Illinois and Naperville (a Chicago suburb) pending appeal. As is typical at this preliminary stage, the order is unsigned and provides no reasoning or analysis. There are no noted dissents.
The order means that Illinois's and Naperville's bans remain in place as the case goes before the Seventh Circuit. The order foretells nothing on the merits.
The case, National Association for Gun Rights v. Naperville, tests bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines by Illinois and Naperville. The lead plaintiff is a gun-shop owner in Naperville.
The district court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Applying Bruen, the court ruled that "[t]he text of the Second Amendment is limited to only certain arms, and history and tradition demonstrate that particularly 'dangerous' weapons are unprotected." And "[b]ecause assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons and high-capacity magazines are particularly dangerous weapon accessories, their regulation accords with history and tradition."
The Seventh Circuit denied an injunction pending appeal.
The plaintiffs then asked the Supreme Court to halt the bans while they appealed on the merits to the Seventh Circuit. They argued that history and tradition support a ban only on "dangerous and unusual" weapons, and that AR-15-style weapons aren't "unusual" because so many people own them.
The state countered that the Second Amendment doesn't sufficiently clearly protect a right to assault weapons to satisfy the requirement for an injunction pending appeal. Naperville countered that the Second Amendment doesn't sufficiently clearly protect a right to sell assault weapons.