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Gun Rights Groups Ask Justices To Block IL Assault Weapon Ban

Gun rights advocacy groups asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block a ban on assault weapons in Illinois that was enacted this year in response to an Independence Day parade massacre where seven people were killed, according to Courthouse News Service The National Association for Gun Rights filed an emergency application to Justice Amy Coney Barrett,saying the ban contradicts the high court’s precedents and the Constitution. "This is an exceedingly simple case,” said Barry Arrington, an attorney for gun rights groups, in the application. “The Second Amendment protects arms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, especially self-defense in the home.” Under the new law, the purchase and sale of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are prohibited. Those who already possess these weapons will be allowed to keep them on their own property or approved sites like shooting ranges as long as they register them with the state police. Sales of ammo magazines with capacities larger than 10 rounds for long guns, and 15 rounds for handguns, will be immediately banned if the law goes into effect. Violations of the ban carry criminal penalties including felony charges with three-year minimum jail sentences.

During the court's last term, a conservative majority changed the standard for how gun regulations were evaluated under the Second Amendment. Instead of using the two-part categorical test the court laid out in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, courts now must conduct a historical analysis of analogous gun laws from the 1700s. This has left lower courts in disarray over the constitutionality of gun regulations while lawmakers attempt to combat shootings. The National Association for Gun Rights said the lower courts did not get the court’s message in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, and now the justices should intervene again. Gun advocacy groups rallied to block the Illinois ban before it went into effect, seeking a preliminary injunction in November. After Illinois enacted its ban on assault weapons on Jan. 10, gun rights groups filed a preliminary injunction request that was denied. Millions of citizens own assault weapons for lawful purposes, the advocacy group claims, but the district court ignored evidence to prove their rights to do so. “In the teeth of this Court’s precedents, the district court refused to address the evidence that the arms banned by the challenged laws are held by millions of law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” Arrington wrote. “The district court did not dispute the evidence; it simply ignored it.”


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