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Gun Control Advocates Get Major Boost from the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case involving a Chicago gun control law. The Court’s decision to opt out of hearing the case is a major victory for gun control advocates who are pushing for bans on assault weapons.

The case stemmed from a local law passed in Highland Park, Illinois in 2013. The suburban city instituted a ban on the possession of semi-automatic firearms capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a magazine. The weapons affected by the law included rapid-fire assault rifles such as the AR-15 and the AK-47.

The law was initially upheld by a federal district court judge. The Illinois State Rifle Association then appealed the decision, leading to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel voting in favor of the earlier ruling and upholding the assault weapons ban in Illinois. The two judges on the panel of three who voted in favor of the gun control law noted that assault firearms are “the weapons of choice in mass shootings” because they can be used to more quickly and more efficiently fire shots.

The decision was again appealed, and now the United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the case. The Court’s decision is major news, coming as it does at a time when mass shootings seem to be occurring at an alarming rate. Moreover, the specific nature of the case – involving assault weapons – has drawn attention from gun control advocates because the shooters in San Bernardino, California, as well as the Planned Parenthood gunman in Colorado, used assault weapons to commit their deadly attacks.

The Supreme Court justices were divided on whether to hear the Illinois gun control case. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a scathing dissent in which he assailed the lower court for “relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.” However, a majority of justices on the Supreme Court rejected Thomas’ reasoning and upheld the ban on assault firearms in Illinois. Similar gun control laws have also been passed, and subsequently upheld, in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and California.

In fact, just last year the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a New Jersey law that placed significant limitations on the right to carry a handgun in public. The law requires anyone wishing to carry a gun to provide proof of a justifiable need for doing so, a limitation that effectively means law enforcement can carry weapons in the Garden State. The Court’s refusal to hear the case had a major impact on gun control laws in New Jersey.

To learn more about the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the recent gun control case, view the NBCNews.com article entitled, “Supreme Court Leaves Assault Weapons Ban Intact.” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-leaves-assault-weapons-ban-intact-n475421

The knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Rudnick Law have decades of experience fighting to protect the rights of clients facing criminal charges, including unlawful possession of a weapon, in New Jersey. If you have been accused of a crime in Monmouth County or Middlesex County, our experienced attorneys can help you. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

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