Included in a wave of new anti-gun laws passed following the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was an “assault weapons” ban in the city of Highland Park, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). A suit was filed challenging the law as an unconstitutional infringement on Americans’ right to own “commonly used” firearms, part of the court’s holding in the Heller decision. Now it appears that the Supreme Court has decided they aren’t going to actually enforce that holding, as they have declined to hear the case challenging the Highland Park “assault weapons” ban . . .
The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a Chicago suburb’s ban on assault weapons Monday, a move that will encourage gun-control advocates and could frustrate supporters of gun rights.
The city of Highland Park, Illinois, passed the ban in 2013 following a series of mass shooting incidents around the country. The law prohibits the sale, purchase and possession of semi-automatic firearms with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, dissented from the denial of the case. Thomas wrote that several Courts of Appeals have upheld “categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes.”
“Because noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents warrants this Court’s attention as much as any of our precedents, I would grant certiorari in this case,” Thomas wrote. The arguments from the parties in the case reflect the deep divide nationwide between those who are pushing what they consider reasonable restrictions and others who think the lower courts are thumbing their nose at Supreme Court precedent by upholding certain restrictions.
The Supreme Court, by declining to step in, sent a message that it is not going to dive into the current gun debate right now. It will allow the issue to percolate in the lower courts.
The Supreme Court might be giving the lower courts time to figure things out, but in the meantime these blatant infringements on Second Amendment rights will be allowed to stand.