AR-15 Ban in Illinois Upheld as Supreme Court Declines Review

The Supreme Court decided not to take up new cases about the right to bear arms and left an Illinois law banning assault-style weapons, like the AR-15, in place. This law remains active for now, but ongoing lawsuits may bring the issue back to the Supreme Court in the future.

The court also sent several other gun cases back to lower courts for further review. These cases include laws that prevent people accused of domestic abuse from having firearms. The Supreme Court recently upheld this federal law. By sending these cases back, the court avoided adding a new gun case to its schedule for the term starting in October.

While the court has strongly supported the right to bear arms, including a significant 2022 ruling, the recent decision shows that some longstanding laws can still stand. The 2022 ruling led to many new challenges to existing gun restrictions.

One case the court sent back involves a law that prevents illegal drug users from owning firearms. This is the same law under which Hunter Biden was recently convicted. The court’s decision leaves this issue unresolved for now, but they might address it in a future case.

Another case concerns whether nonviolent felons can be banned from having guns. The court also sent back a challenge to new gun restrictions in New York.

In the Illinois case, conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas indicated they would have taken the case. Thomas wrote that the court should provide more guidance on which weapons the Second Amendment covers.

The Illinois law bans assault weapons, like the AR-15, and large-capacity magazines. However, it does not ban any handguns or affect people who already own these firearms. Gun rights activists sued to block the law, claiming it violates their Second Amendment rights.

In 1994, Congress enacted a nationwide assault weapons ban that expired after ten years. Attempts to revive it have failed. The legal landscape has changed significantly due to the Supreme Court’s recent pro-gun-rights rulings, starting with a 2008 decision recognizing an individual right to bear arms.

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