Justice Barrett Demands Answers In “Assault Weapons” Ban

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An image of US Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett
US Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has given a lower U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois until May 8 to explain its decision banning assault weapons.

The order comes after an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court in the Bevis v. Naperville and the State of Illinois case wherein U.S. District Court Judge, Virginia Kendall, ruled in favor of an assault weapons ban finding it “constitutionally sound”.

The case at hand addresses a Naperville, Illinois ordinance barring the sale and possession of certain semi-automatic rifles and magazines. After the ruling, plaintiffs applied for a preliminary injunction to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit which was summarily denied.

Just days ago, as we reported, Judge McGlynn in the Southern District of Illinois struck down an assault weapons ban.

The emergency appeal lays out the case against the judge’s blatantly unconstitutional ruling:

Can the government ban the sale, purchase, and possession of certain semi-automatic firearms and firearm magazines tens of millions of which are possessed by law-abiding Americans for lawful purposes when there is no analogous historical ban as required by D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022)?

What’s particularly troubling about this case, and others like it, is that lower court judges refuse to accept the precedent set in Bruen, Heller and MacDonald that have removed interest-balancing approaches to limiting constitutional rights and explicitly stated that firearms in common use cannot be banned. The text of the emergency appeal also pointed this out.

Unfortunately, if the 10 months of Second Amendment litigation since Bruen have taught us anything, it is that many of the lower courts did not get the message. This action is a case in point. In the teeth of this Court’s precedents, the district court refused to address the evidence that the arms banned by the challenged laws are held by millions of law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. The district court did not dispute the evidence; it simply ignored it.

Even more troubling is another new tact that belligerent lower courts are starting to employ in their refusal to defer to the Bruen Supreme Court ruling upholding and strengthening Second Amendment rights. Lower courts are simply fabricating their own rules, doctrines and even definitions. The Bevis v. Naperville case is a perfect illustration.

Instead of following Heller and Bruen, the district court went off the rails and invented out of whole cloth the “particularly dangerous weapon” doctrine. Under the district court’s new doctrine, weapons that a court judges to be “particularly dangerous” are unprotected by the Second Amendment (App.20).

The appeal goes on to heavily cite the very clear language of Bruen, and it becomes clear that there are only two possible scenarios: Judge Kendall either did not read Bruen (which is unlikely) or is actively hostile to the doctrine the Supreme Court set in the landmark case – and by hostile, we mean hostile to the enumerated rights of citizens in this country.

There are now numerous cases involving “assault weapons” bans and “high capacity magazine” bans. As we reported back in February, three important but not all that similar NJ-based cases were consolidated, for the discovery phase at least:

At this point, it’s indisputable that one or more of these cases will make it into the Supreme Court docket. Not only is the Supreme Court taking notice of these hostile decisions, but they absolutely must take action before these decisions start to coalesce into a separate and competing body of legal precedent that will only confuse and obfuscate lower court decisions.

We will continue to cover this story.

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