The Supreme Court of the United States has allowed the state of Illinois to temporarily enforce its ban on certain semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act came into effect on Jan. 10, 2023, and bans the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, and importation of specific weapons and magazines. The weapons listed in the act include the AR-15 and AK-47 rifles. The law also requires lawful owners of semi-automatic rifles to register their ownership with state police.
On the weekend of May 14, 2023, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy warned the Supreme Court of a revolt if they don’t concede on gun control.
“If the Supreme Court eventually says that states or the Congress can’t pass universal background checks or can’t take these assault weapons off the streets, I think there will be a popular revolt over that policy, of course, that’s already pretty illegitimate is going to be in full crisis mode,” the Democrat Senator said.
Sen. @ChrisMurphyCT: “If SCOTUS eventually says states or Congress can’t pass universal background checks or can’t take these weapons off the streets … there’s going to be a popular revolt … A court that’s already pretty illegitimate is going to be in full crisis mode.” pic.twitter.com/C0tFtPorXb
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 15, 2023
The Supreme Court ruling allows the Illinois law to remain in effect while lower courts deliberate on its constitutional status. The request for an injunction went to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit is currently considering the case.
The Supreme Court’s ruling Wednesday comes after a gun shop owner in Illinois requested an injunction against the ban. Judge Stephen Patrick McGlynn, a Trump appointee in Illinois’ Southern District, had initially granted the injunction, arguing that the law infringed on the right to self-defense. Appellate Judge Frank Easterbrook then reversed McGlynn’s ruling, a decision that has now been supported by both the 7th Circuit and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s Wednesday ruling does not offer an explanation for its decision, and there were no noted dissents. The 7th Circuit has yet to issue a final ruling on the Illinois law, but its decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Illinois law does not require those who currently legally own such weapons to turn them in, and instead bans only the sale and new possession of semi-automatic “assault weapons.”
For now, the Supreme Court’s decision allows the Illinois law to remain in effect, but its long-term status is still up in the air. The 7th Circuit’s final ruling could be the deciding factor in the case, potentially setting a precedent for other states.