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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
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High Court Leaves City’s Assault Weapons Ban Intact

(CN) - A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away the gun lobby's challenge to an Illinois city ordinance banning assault weapons sales - effectively declaring such bans are consistent with the Second Amendment.

The court majority did not explain the reasoning for their decision, but Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia broke with their colleagues and said they would have agreed to hear the case.

In June 2013, the city of Highland Park, Illinois passed a complex ordinance prohibiting the possession, sale, or manufacture of certain types of weapons and large capacity magazines. Punishments include fines and up to six months of imprisonment. A district judge upheld the ordinance, and in April 2015, The Seventh Circuit upheld the affluent Chicago suburb's ban.

At the same time, however, the circuit panel expressed frustration with the lack of guidance as to what types of bans violate the Second Amendment.

The Illinois State Rifle Association then appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In September, 24 attorneys general urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to a lawsuit challenging an Illinois city's assault rifle ban as unconstitutional.

In their dissent, Thomas and Scalia based their arguments on two earlier decision by the High Court, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, which extended, Thomas said, the "personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home."

"The Court's refusal to review a decision that flouts two of our Second Amendment precedents stands in marked contrast to the Court's willingness to summarily reverse courts that disregard our other constitutional decisions," wrote Justice Thomas in a dissent joined by Scalia.

"There is no basis for a different result when our Second Amendment precedents are at stake," Thomas continued. "I would grant certiorari to prevent the Seventh Circuit from relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right."

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