Supreme Court Declines Review of Gun Laws
In what some are calling a shocking result, the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to take on a weapons ban case originating out of Illinois. The refusal to hear the case is attracting even more attention, given the recent high-profile mass shootings in recent days and months that have caused the country to ask many troubling questions.
It is not unusual for the High Court to decline to hear a case. In fact, the court gets over 7,000 requests for case review in a given year and only accepts from 100-150. But when an issue is of national importance regarding policy such as this, the court typically accepts the case for review. Only two justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas , voted to review the case. For a case to be heard and decided, it must get four votes.
Weapons Ban Law
The case is based on a weapons ban enacted by the City of Highland Park, near Chicago, Illinois. That ban was enacted in 2013 and prohibits what it deems to be assault rifles, such as AR-15 and AK-47 rifles. A local gun owners association brought the suit based on the fact that their members lawfully and legally owned the weapons prior to the ban, and banning the weapons violated their constitutional rights.
The suit went to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the ban. In their arguments, both sides cited the recently decided Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller. In that case the Supreme Court announced that Washington, D.C., firearms regulations were too stringent and deprived the District’s residents of their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Those challenging the Highland Park law felt their rights were infringed in the same way.
On the other hand, the City of Highland Park felt that the Heller decision actually favored their position. In Heller the justices ruled that states do have a right to ban certain types of weapons. The court particularly mentioned a city or state’s ability to ban dangerous and unusual weapons. Using this language, the city persuaded the court of appeals to agree with them and rule in their favor.
Just because the court declined to review this case in this instance does not mean they will not review a similar case in the future. As of now, all the lower courts reviewing these types of bans on assault weapons have upheld them. The court may be waiting for split in lower court opinions to resolve a split and decide whether states have the authority to ban assault weapons in this way.
As more and more states continue to pass restrictive gun laws, it is important to understand and know what that means for you. Weapons charges can be some of the most damaging to a person’s life, and often have lasting consequences. Often, weapons charges will involve the federal government and will be brought in federal court. Those kinds of cases should only be handled by the most experienced and capable of attorneys.
If You Think You Need a Lawyer, You Do. Call NOW!!
Please contact Attorney Tony Moss at the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. to discuss your case involving the kinds of weapons discussed in this blog, or any other criminal matter affecting you. He has offices in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and is prepared to put his 27 years of experience to work for you.