Supreme Court Urged to Review Assault Rifle Ban

     CHICAGO (CN) – Twenty-four attorneys general urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to a lawsuit challenging an Illinois city’s assault rifle ban as unconstitutional.
     In June 2013, the city of Highland Park, Ill., 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.
     The Seventh Circuit upheld the ordinance in April, and plaintiff Illinois State Rifle Association appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
     Twenty-four Attorneys General filed an amicus brief with the high court last week, urging the justices to re-affirm their decision in Dist. of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down a gun ban in D.C.
     The Attorneys General emphasized that members of Congress have recently attempted to impose a national ban on semi-automatic rifles – most recently, Senator Diane Feinstein proposed The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.
     “Granting certiorari and reversing the Seventh Circuit would provide clarity not only to the lower courts, but also make clear to Congress that these bans are unconstitutional and any federal effort to disrupt State efforts to protect the Second Amendment rights of their citizens will fail,” the brief stated.
     The Attorneys General from the following states are joined the brief: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and West Virginia.
     The Seventh Circuit’s April ruling highlighted the difficulty of determining whether a given weapon is too dangerous for individuals to carry.
     “How weapons are sorted between private and military uses has changed over time. Why should regulations enacted 130 years after the Second Amendment’s adoption have more validity than those enacted another 90 years later?” U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook asked in his opinion for the panel.
     Easterbrook continued: “Nothing in Heller suggests that a constitutional challenge to bans on private possession of machine guns brought during the 1930s, soon after their enactment, should have succeeded – that the passage of time creates an easement across the Second Amendment.”
     But the panel ultimately came down in favor of the ban. “We think it better to ask whether a regulation bans weapons that were common at the time of ratification or those that have ‘some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia,'” Easterbrook said. “The features prohibited by Highland Park’s ordinance were not common in 1791. Most guns available then could not fire more than one shot without being reloaded; revolvers with rotating cylinders weren’t widely available until the early 19th century.”
     The court rejected the notion that citizens would be unable to protect themselves without assault weapons.
     The National Rifle Association also filed an amicus brief in this case with the Supreme Court, arguing simply, “Firearms that are commonly chosen by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes cannot be banned.”
     The brief claims that assault rifles are popular for self-defense because of their “greater accuracy, reliability, overall practicality, and safety.”
     The NRA also found it “incredible” that Highland Park would prohibit weapons fitted with a barrel shroud, that allow a firearm user to hold the barrel without being burned.”Thus, the city authorizes the use of firearms that will burn the operator by banning firearms with safety features that protect her from being burned,” the brief states.

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