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 December 15, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Illinois ban on some semiautomatic rifles

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Illinois ban on some semiautomatic rifles Thursday, Fox News reported. The high court denied the request for a preliminary injunction that was filed by the National Association for Gun Rights.

The law was enacted in January after being signed by Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It imposes penalties for anyone who "carries or possesses… manufactures, sells, delivers, imports, or purchases any assault weapon or .50 caliber rifle."

It even extends to the accessories for those weapons. However, the high court did not offer any explanation or opinion on rejecting the request for an injunction.

The law also survived challenges by the 7th District U.S. Court of Appeals in November. The Illinois Supreme Court similarly allowed the law to stand in a 4-3 decision in August.

"A right delayed is a right denied, and every day these gun bans are enforced is a travesty to freedom," Dudley Brown, National Association for Gun Rights president, said in a statement. "We will be back to the Supreme Court as soon as our legal team finishes drafting our cert petition, and they will have to decide if they really meant what they said in Heller and Bruen," he added.

People who already own these outlawed weapons have until Jan. 1, 2024, to register them to be grandfathered in. This law is just one of several that are testing the U.S. Supreme Court's framework for limiting the Second Amendment.

In June 2022, the nation's highest court struck down a New York law that limited where people were allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The 6-3 decision fell in favor of gun owners, a separate Fox News report stated.

The court ruled in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen case that New York was too restrictive in its rules for granting concealed carry licenses. Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion, said it was not Constitutional to do so.

"The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees. We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need," Thomas said of the threshold New York set to obtain a permit.

"That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant's right to confront the witnesses against him," the judge pointed out.

"And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense," Thomas said. The justice claimed there were other precedents to build on, such as D.C. v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010.

"As we stated in Heller and repeated in McDonald, ‘individual self-defense is ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment right,’" Thomas said. He noted that the language of "sensitive places" that justifies restrictions was laid out clearly and that New York's use was too broad.

New York defined "sensitive places" as any place "people typically congregate and where law-enforcement and other public-safety professionals are presumptively available," Thomas wrote. "Put simply, there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a 'sensitive place' simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department.

Democrats hope to restrict gun rights as much as possible for law-abiding citizens. Their laws will never stop crime but instead stop those who wish to protect themselves from being able to do so, and this Illinois law is just more of the same.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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