Supreme Court Won’t Block Illinois Laws on High-Powered Rifles

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block two Illinois laws prohibiting the sale of high-powered guns and high-capacity magazines while challenges to them move forward.

The court’s brief order gave no reasons, which is typical when the court acts on requests for emergency relief. There were no noted dissents.

Several other states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, along with many municipalities, have enacted similar laws in the wake of mass shootings around the nation. Recent shootings, including one at a Texas mall that left eight people dead, have prompted calls for further efforts to address gun violence.

The case that reached the Supreme Court was a challenge to a city ordinance in Naperville, Ill., enacted in August and a state law enacted in January. The ordinance prohibited “the commercial sale of assault rifles,” listing 26 categories of weapons, including AK-47 and AR-15 rifles. The state law covered similar weapons along with high-capacity magazines.

The historical evidence, the brief said, supported the state law.

“During the founding era, Americans typically owned muskets for militia service and fowling pieces to hunt birds and control vermin,” the brief said. “Single-shot, muzzle-loading firearms remained the standard weapon up to and including the Civil War.”

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