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U.S. Supreme Court declines to issue injunction against Illinois' assault weapons ban

Assault weapons and hand guns for sale.
Seth Perlman
Assault weapons and hand guns for sale.

The decision means the ban will now likely remain in effect while the federal appeals court in Chicago takes time to hear arguments in the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Wednesday to issue an injunction against Illinois’ assault-weapons ban, meaning it will now likely remain in effect while the federal appeals court in Chicago takes time to hear further arguments against it.

The court declined to enter an injunction sought by Robert Bevis, a Naperville gunshop owner, and the National Association for Gun Rights, who are among those seeking to block the law. They sought similar rulings from U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall in Chicago and from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

They turned to Justice Amy Coney Barrett after being denied in both courts. On Wednesday, Barrett referred the matter to the full court, which denied the petition.

Though enforcement of the assault-weapons ban was briefly blocked by a federal judge in southern Illinois, the 7th Circuit intervened early this month and allowed enforcement of the ban to continue. It has since consolidated challenges to the law and set oral arguments for June 29.

It ruled that its order allowing enforcement to continue “will remain in effect until these appeals have been resolved.”

Opponents have pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer that found gun regulations must be “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

Illinois’ law bans the sale of assault weapons and caps the purchase of magazines at 10 rounds for long guns and 15 for handguns. It also makes rapid-fire devices known as switches illegal because they turn firearms into fully automatic weapons.

Under the law, anyone who already owns the banned guns is allowed to keep them but required to register them with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1.

The law was enacted in January in response to the mass shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade that left seven people dead.

Jon Seidel covers federal courts for the Chicago Sun-Times.