Chicago, IL – The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the ban of “AR-15-style” rifle sales in Illinois in a ruling issued Wednesday.
The high court did not explain its refusal to intervene in the case and did not disclose a vote count, CNN reported.
The decision came after an emergency request was filed by Naperville gun store owner Robert Bevis and the National Association for Gun Rights asking the court to suspend implementation of both local and state laws pertaining to the ban while legal challenges are pending, according to The Washington Post.
Naperville passed an ordinance last year banning the sale of “assault weapons” within the city.
Illinois lawmakers passed the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA) in January, which bans the “sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, or importation of ‘assault weapons’ and ‘large capacity ammunition feeding devices,’” The Washington Post reported.
The prohibition includes AR-15s, AK-47s, magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds for handguns, and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds for long guns, according to Reuters.
Existing gun owners have until Jan. 1, 2024, to register their “assault weapons” with the Illinois State Police.
Exceptions were made for military members, law enforcement, and other individuals with similar firearms training, The Washington Post reported.
Naperville noted in a brief that the issue of whether “the Second Amendment protects the commercial sale of a limited category of assault rifles within one municipality’s borders has never been addressed” by the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN reported.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has argued in multiple court briefs that the weapons included in the state’s ban are not protected under the Second Amendment because they are not “firearms that are ‘commonly used’ for self-defense,” according to CNN.
But Bevis’ attorneys told the Supreme Court that Americans own at least 20 million AR-15s and similar weapons, The Washington Post reported.
“An arm cannot be subjected to a categorical ban unless it is both dangerous and unusual,” they argued. “An arm that is commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes is, by definition, not unusual.”
Naperville further claimed Bevis’ request did not constitute an emergency situation, The Washington Post reported.
“The loss of business from being unable to sell one category of one possible product line at a gun store simply cannot carry sufficient weight against the danger of a murdered or permanently maimed Naperville resident, senselessly shot by an assault rifle,” the city declared in its brief.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear arguments in the case on June 29, CNN reported.
“The gun lobby has insisted on every legal maneuver to block this law, refusing to acknowledge that lives will be saved by this important piece of legislation,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said after the Supreme Court’s decision, according to Reuters. “Despite these challenges, I remain confident that the assault weapons ban will be upheld and will create a safer Illinois for our residents.”