The Supreme Court of the United States could soon announce it will hear a case challenging an “assault weapons” ban. Such a case could hold major ramifications for the future of such bans across the country.
Gun rights advocates are challenging a 2013 law passed in Highland Park, Illinois, that bans the sale, purchase, or possession of semi-automatic weapons that can hold more than 10 rounds in a single ammunition clip or magazine. In passing the law, city officials cited the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
The ban also lists certain specific rifles, including those resembling the AR-15 and AK-47 assault-style firearms.
The case, if heard by the high court, will center around whether or not such “assault weapons” can be legally deemed “dangerous and unusual” weapons, as advocates of the local gun ban hold such weapons are often used in mass shootings. Opponents of the ban argue that weapons such as the AR-15 are hardly “unusual.”
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The Illinois State Rifle Association, which is challenging the law’s constitutionality, says the weapons are in no way unusual. The AR-15, the group says, is the best-selling rifle type in the nation.
Between 1990 and 2012, the group says, more than 5 million AR-type rifles were manufactured for sale in the U.S., and 3.4 million more were imported. As for the magazines, the gun rights group says they are “ubiquitous,” with nearly 75 million of them in possession of gun owners.
A ruling striking down the city ordinance would undercut similar bans in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and in Chicago and surrounding cities.