(Adds background on legislation and legal challenge, paragraphs 3-14)
By Andrew Chung
May 17 (Reuters) – The US Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block a Democratic-backed ban on assault rifles and large-capacity magazines in Illinois following a deadly 2022 mass shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, according to rights advocates.
The court denied a request from the National Association for Gun Rights and a firearms retailer for an injunction to block enforcement of the state law and a similar injunction issued by another Chicago suburb, Naperville, while a legal challenge against the measures continues.
Democratic Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act in January, which banned the sale and distribution of many types of high-powered semi-automatic “assault weapons,” including AK-47 and AR-15 rifles, as well as magazines containing more than 10 cartridges for long guns and 15 cartridges for pistols.
The law exempts existing owners and gives them a January 1, 2024 deadline to register their assault weapons with the state police.
The gun rights association, as well as a Naperville-based firearms store, Law Weapons & Supply, and its owner Robert Bevis, challenged the city’s ordinance restricting the sale of certain assault rifles and the state’s broader ban as a violation of the second law of the US Constitution. Amendment, protecting the right to “keep and bear” arms.
The case is one of many challenges to the state’s ban in both federal and state courts.
Illinois passed the ban in response to a massacre at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park in 2022 that killed seven people and injured dozens more.
In signing the law, Pritzker also cited other recent mass shootings – common in the United States – including a 2022 attack that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a murder in 2012 on 20 children and six adults. at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
A gunman wearing tactical gear and carrying an AR-15 style rifle killed eight people at a Texas mall on May 6 before being shot by police. magazines, as well as to conduct universal background checks and end immunity for gun manufacturers.
A federal assault weapons ban enacted in 1994 expired ten years later and was not renewed by Congress despite Democratic efforts. In the absence of broad action by Congress on gun control, some states have taken various measures, often with legal challenges under the Second Amendment.
The Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, has extended gun rights in major rulings since 2008.
In a landmark decision last June lifting New York state’s gun limits, the Supreme Court recognized the right to publicly carry a gun for self-defense. That ruling also heralded a legal standard that could make it more difficult for lower courts to enforce new or existing gun regulations, requiring them to be similar to restrictions traditionally passed in U.S. history.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall in February and the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April rejected the challengers’ bid for an injunction.
When asking the Supreme Court to overturn the ban, the challengers said that AR-15s and similar rifles are in common use in the United States and that there is no historical analog to such a ban.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Additional reporting by John Kruzel in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham)