With litigation pending, the Supreme Court has received an emergency request to block Illinois' draconian "assault weapons" bans.
The petitioners argue the case is "exceedingly simple" in their brief to Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees emergency requests from the 7th Circuit.
According to the challengers, lower courts that upheld the bans have ignored the Supreme Court's landmark ruling last year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which bars gun control schemes untethered from "historical tradition."
Illinois' sweeping bans on commonly used firearms are without "historical analogue" and therefore unconstitutional, the petitioners said.
Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker signed a sweeping ban in January targeting firearms like the AR-15 and so-called "high-capacity" magazines, defined as holding more than 10 rounds for rifles and 15 for handguns. Also at issue is a citywide ban in Naperville, Illinois.
A federal district court upheld the bans, finding that assault weapons are "particularly dangerous," and the 7th Circuit Appeals court affirmed the ruling.
The lower courts not only ignored the Supreme Court's precedents, but evidence that so-called "assault weapons" and magazines with more than 10 rounds are extremely "common" firearms, the petitioners said.
"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," the brief reads.
In its brief to the appeals court, Illinois claimed that AR-15s do not have any self-defense use and exist for the sole purpose of inflicting "mass casualties." The state also argued that assault weapons were not in "common use" during the Founding era
A Trump-appointed judge rejected that argument in a separate ruling blocking Illinois' ban. U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn called Illinois' historical reasoning "bordering on the frivolous" because the Second Amendment's protections do not end with firearms that existed during the Founding.
Bruen has reverberated with a number of lower court victories for gun rights, but Democrats have responded by defiantly doubling down on patently illegal gun control laws.
With this case in Ilinois, the Supreme Court has an opportunity to revisit the issue and clear up any "confusion" Democrats may be suffering from.
Justice Barrett has asked Naperville to issue a response by Monday.