Supreme Court Could Hear, Overturn Assault Weapons Ban

According to NBC News, the Supreme Court could make a decision as early as Tuesday on whether or not to hear a challenge to Highland Park, Illinois’ municipal assault weapons ban. If the court chooses to hear the case, and to overturn the local ban, it would also set a precedent that could prompt overturning similar bans in larger cities like nearby Chicago. It could also potentially undermine assault weapons bans in seven states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

Highland Park’s law was passed in 2013, shortly after the deadly Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The law bans the sale, purchase, or possession of semi-automatic weapons that can hold more than 10 rounds in a single ammunition clip or magazine.

The Illinois State Rifle Association challenged the ban by arguing that the weapons are widely owned and that it isn’t unusual for people to have them. While true, that argument hardly addresses whether the ban is a good idea or not for protecting public safety.

A federal district judge and a federal appeals court upheld the law. The appeals court ruled 2 to 1 in favor of maintaining the law, with Judge Frank Easterbrook, a Ronald Reagan appointee, writing the majority opinion. Easterbrook argued:

Assault weapons with large-capacity magazines can fire more shots, faster, and thus can be more dangerous in the aggregate. Why else are they the weapons of choice in mass shootings?… A ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines might not prevent shootings in Highland Park (where they are already rare), but it may reduce the carnage if a mass shooting occurs.

If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, it will be interesting to see if the conservative-leaning court will side with Reagan appointee Easterbrook in upholding the ban, or if they will take the gun lobby’s position and vote to overturn the law. Hopefully, the court will either refuse to consider the case, or if they do rule on it, they will uphold the ban and let gun sense prevail.

20 Replies to “Supreme Court Could Hear, Overturn Assault Weapons Ban”

  1. The difficulty with banning assault weapons is that it is exceedingly difficult to establish what they are. Here in CA, my AR15 that I had to leave in the Midwest is banned. But my Ruger Mini-30, which shoots more powerful rounds and can hold just as many in a magazine, is completely legal. They both shoot one round each time the trigger is pulled. Other than the Mini-30 shooting larger caliber bullets, they are functionally equal.

    Semi-automatic rifles have been around for over a century. Only about 1% of all gun deaths are caused by them. They are not the problem.

  2. But we have to start somewhere. I’d ban your handy little killing machine as well. We have to start marking ammo, or making it so expensive that people think twice. Food or ammo..unfortunately, I know what would win.So what is the answer? Holding people responsible for deaths caused by their guns. Holding parents responsible when some kid shoots another kid with a gun ‘he found under the bed.’ Teaching boys that guns kill, and are not playthings. Expecting men to be able to solve their differences without a gun in their pocket, hand, or boots. Until some kind of common sense takes over America, we will be the most violent country on Earth. Quite exceptional are those “Christian” NRA loving, Republicans. Stay out of my neighborhood.

  3. “making it so expensive that people think twice. Food or ammo”

    I guess you believe that only the rich should have the right to self defense. How very 1%er of you.

  4. An “assault weapon”, as treated by a municipal, county, state, or federal ban, would be defined by the statute of that jurisdiction. To avoid being struck for vagueness or overbreadth, the definition would include specific parameters and capacities for the weapons in question. A flintlock never would. Neither would a bolt action or other standard loading mechanism. On the other hand, slaughterarms designed to mow down human crowds in less than a minute would. The exact line would have to be drawn by lawmakers for the jurisdiction in question.

  5. The NRA, otherwise known as the gun manufacturers’ marketing wing, and other gun nuts don’t think those two words are part of The Second Amendment.

  6. Once when I facetiously stated that every American should have a pocket nuclear bomb to ensure absolute security, some bright thing said.”But that is very different than an assault rifle.”
    I pointed out that the constitution doesn’t specify. The right to bear arms. She said, “But a nuclear weapon is not defensive!!”

    “Well, then the Cold War was pretty damn pointless.”
    I think she didn’t grasp the irony.

  7. The NRA pays Wayne LaPierre $972,000 a year to keep
    sensible gun control legislation suppressed. Talk about
    blood money…

  8. I wholeheartedly agree…guns are not the problem, ownership is the problem. I don’t have a problem with people owning guns or shooting guns. I don’t even care how many bullets your gun can shoot or how big your guns are. Hell, you can have a cannon for all I care. I just want to know that you know how to use your guns (not just any gun, but the guns you own) and you know how to store your guns and that you “YOU” have the wherewithal to be responsible if something goes wrong: ie, should you shoot my eye out, I want to know that you have the funds and or insurance to compensate me. Now that is common sense gun control!

  9. Come on Bob, do you say the same thing about the sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol? Only the rich have the right to kill themselves with these poisons?

  10. Yes, selling your soul has always come with a high priced offer or else few would pay the ultimate price themselves to get the $.

  11. “…this Massacre brought to you by the NRA; Americas Premiere Domestic Terrorist Organization …another Loss of Life coming soon to a Community near you!!!”
    {REAL soon!!!}

  12. CW says:
    “Come on Bob, do you say the same thing about the sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol? Only the rich have the right to kill themselves with these poisons?”

    Yes CW, as a matter of fact I do. Why do you so-called liberals continue to enthusiastically support these highly regressive taxes on the poor?

  13. You’re asking an awful lot from people that do well to tie their own shoelaces. I know too many people that “own” guns that turn around and “loan” or “sell” them to friends and relatives. It’s an impossible thing to monitor. When they start doling out heftier penalties for people that have unlicensed guns, then maybe we’ll see a change….but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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