Illinois assault weapons ban halted in Supreme Court


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett will rule whether to temporarily halt the enforcement of the assault weapons ban in Illinois after Robert Bevis, a gun shop owner asked for an injunction.

In January, Gov. JB Pritzker signed an Illinois assault weapons ban into law making it illegal to possess or distribute assault weapons and high capacity magazines in the state.

Now, four months later, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the ban have appealed rulings allowing the bill to stand in the Supreme Court where it is currently being evaluated by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The case is being heard in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The law came in response to the deadly Highland Park shooting last July where a gunman openly fired with an assault rifle at the parade. The assault weapons ban prohibits the manufacture, distribution and possession of more than 190 types of assault rifles as well as large-capacity magazines like the one used in the Highland Park shooting that enabled the shooter to fire off more than 70 rounds in a few minutes. 

Immediately after the ban known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) was signed into law, gun owners across Illinois filed motions to halt the ban on the claim that it violates the second amendment. 

Robert Bevis, a gun shop owner in Naperville challenged the state law under this precedent, but according to reporting by ABC7 Chicago, Bevis has since failed to persuade federal judges in Chicago of his case. He has now asked the Supreme Court for an injunction that will temporarily halt enforcement of the ban until his case is heard. 

Barrett is evaluating the legislation to determine whether she will issue a temporary stay on the ban until the court can evaluate its merit. According to federal law, an injunction can be issued in the Supreme Court if a justice deems there is a likelihood the case may be successful. 

On May 1, Barrett requested more information from the state and Chicago before she proceeds with a decision. 

Last week, the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee (G-PAC) filed an amicus brief in support of the ban. However, the National Association for Gun Rights continues to pursue its overturn. 

Earlier this year, plaintiffs in the case made a substantial stride when the United States District Court judge Stephen McGlynn temporarily blocked enforcement of the ban. McGlynn’s decision came a week after Lindsay Jenkins, a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois, denied a motion to halt enforcement of the ban. 

It is up to Barrett to decide whether to halt the ban until the case is heard by the Supreme Court.