The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declined to block a Democrat-backed "assault weapon" ban, leaving the restrictions in place—at least for now.
The decision leaves in place the law—called the Protect Illinois Communities Act—making it illegal for the general public to own weapons like the AR-15 and ammunition magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.
Some commenters objected to Mr. Pritzker's framing of the Supreme Court decision as a "historic win" given that there was no decision on the merits of the case, merely a denial of emergency injunctive relief.
While there was some praise online for the court decision—and for Mr. Pritzker himself for pushing hard for the ban—others raised objections.
Illinois 'Assault Weapons' Ban In FocusIn January 2023, Mr. Pritzker signed into law the Protect Illinois Communities Act, banning the sale and distribution of many types of high-powered semiautomatic firearms that he and other Democrats deemed to be "assault weapons."
The ban covers such firearms as the AK-47 and AR-15 rifles, as well as magazines that take more than 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns.
The only exceptions to the ban are for "trained professionals," such as law enforcement officers, and people who already owned the guns before the law is set to take effect in January 2024.
The governor's signature came months after a man used an AR-15-style rifle to shoot and kill seven people and injure dozens more at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
Arguing that the ban covers firearms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful reasons, including self-defense, The National Association for Gun Rights, joined by Mr. Bevis and his store (Law Weapons & Supply), filed suit to block the law.
More DetailsA district court rejected the plaintiffs' request, and a divided three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit also refused to halt the ban.
Under a Supreme Court decision in 2022, the government is required to justify the imposition of Second Amendment-related regulations by showing that they are "consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
The appeals court judges then considered whether the firearms that were banned by the Illinois law are covered by the Second Amendment, with Judge Wood pointing to a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that determined the Second Amendment only applies weapons "typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes."
"We conclude the answer is no," Judge Wood said in the ruling, referring to whether the firearms banned by the Illinois law are covered by the Second Amendment.
"We come to this conclusion because these assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are much more like machine guns and military grade weaponry than they are like the many different types of firearms that are used for individual self-defense (or so the legislature was entitled to conclude)," she wrote.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs had argued in court that there are important distinctions between AR-15-style rifles and M16s, a similar looking gun used by the military, but Judge Wood said the answers were "unconvincing."