NAGR Petitions Supreme Court to Strike Down Illinois Assault Weapons Ban

Feb 12, 2024

Today, the National Association for Gun Rights submitted a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to overrule the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling and strike down the Illinois “assault weapons” ban.

Specifically, NAGR’s petition asks three questions of the court:

  • Is Illinois’ handgun ban constitutional, in light of Heller’s ruling that handgun bans are categorically unconstitutional?
  • Is the “in common use” test in Heller hopelessly circular and therefore workable?
  • Can the government ban the sale, purchase, and possession of semi-automatic firearms and magazines, both of which are owned by law-abiding Americans for lawful purposes?


From the cert petition: “Bruen called on the Nation’s legislatures to engage in a sober reassessment of their power to impose burdens on the right to keep and bear arms. The Illinois legislature ignored that call. Indeed, instead of tapping on the regulatory brakes, Illinois stomped on the gas and passed a sweeping arms ban that included a ban on the most popular rifle in America.”

“As we’ve said from the beginning, this is a very simple case. Under the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Heller and Bruen precedents, you can’t ban so-called ‘assault weapons.’ The 7th Circuit had to actually rule that AR-15s aren’t guns at all in order to uphold the gun ban. That’s how open and shut our case is, and we look forward to the Supreme Court striking down these unconstitutional gun bans once and for all,” said Hannah Hill Executive Director, National Foundation for Gun Rights (legal arm of the National Association for Gun Rights).

NAGR’s appeal draws attention to numerous ways the 7th Circuit violated not only the Second Amendment, but the Supreme Court’s Heller and Bruen precedents and asks the Justices to address those errors:

  • The 7th Circuit said that that AR- and AK-platform firearms are not “arms” under the Second Amendment.
  • The 7th Circuit said that the “in common use” test in Heller is faulty circular reasoning and can’t be used.
  • The 7th Circuit said that Bruen’s history and tradition test is hypocritical because it uses interest balancing banned by the Supreme Court.
  • The 7th Circuit failed to properly conduct the “history and tradition” test in this case.
  • The 7th Circuit said that arms can be banned consistent with the Second Amendment if a court thinks they are “particularly dangerous.”
  • The 7th Circuit used interest balancing – which Bruen specifically said courts can no longer use.
  • The 7th Circuit said that guns can be banned if they’re similar to weapons used by the military.

“Ever since Bruen, the lower courts have upheld ‘assault weapons’ bans in every single contested case. If that doesn’t spell outright defiance of the Supreme Court and an absolute unwillingness to obey the Constitution, I don’t know what does. It’s time for the Supreme Court to step in, enforce its own precedents, and smack down the activist judges who think they’re above both the Supreme Court and the Constitution,”  said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights.

Click here to read the petition.

The National Association for Gun Rights is the nation’s second largest pro-gun organization, with 4.5 million members and supporters nationwide.

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