Supreme Court won't overturn Illinois city's assault rifle ban

A case that was seen as a way to keep states from implementing broad bans on assault rifles will not be heard for now by the Supreme Court.

AR-15-style rifles are on display at Burbank Ammo & Guns in Burbank, California.
Jae C. Hong/AP

The Supreme Court has denied hearing a case that challenges a law that bans the sale, purchase or possession of certain semi-automatic firearms in an Illinois city. 

The City of Naperville said in its filing that the Fourth of July parade attack in nearby Highland Park, Illinois, prompted the law. The city passed the law last year in the wake of the shooting.

“Criminals who engage in mass shootings overwhelmingly use assault weapons—not other firearms,” the city said in its filing. “Perpetrators used assault weapons in the most deadly mass shootings in recent years—including the Fourth of July Highland Park parade massacre that prompted Naperville’s City Council to pass the Sale Ordinance and the Allen, Texas mall shooting just two days before this filing.”

It is possible the case could make its way back to the Supreme Court pending lower court decisions.

The court order was a win for gun control advocates who have pushed to make it more challenging to purchase assault rifles, including AR-15-style rifles. The State of Illinois backed Naperville in its attempt to enforce the law. 

This case was seen as one to curtail state and local laws that prohibit the sale or possession of assault rifles.

Customers look at AR-15-style rifles

Washington becomes 10th state to ban assault weapons

The new ban represents a big victory for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which has been advocating for gun control in Washington for 10 years.


The National Association for Gun Rights challenged the law. 

“This is an exceedingly simple case,” the group said in its filing. “The Second Amendment protects arms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, especially self-defense in the home.”

The case will go back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for a June 29 hearing. The law is allowed to remain in place until that hearing.