By Katabella Roberts
The Supreme Court has requested a further response from city officials in Naperville, Illinois, after they introduced a law restricting gun rights, prompting the National Association for Gun Rights and the owner of a gun store to file a lawsuit against the measure.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett has asked the city to provide further information regarding its recently passed ban prohibiting the sale of so-called assault-style weapons.
Barrett, a Trump appointee, gave the city until May 8 to respond to provide the additional information.
The move came after the gun rights advocates asked Barrett to block the ban, as well as another similar Illinois state law, which prohibits the possession of such weapons or magazines.
In an emergency application for an “injunction pending appellate review” (pdf) filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on April 26, the plaintiffs, which include Robert Bevis, who owns Law Weapons & Supply, argued that the two laws violate a ruling last year that expanded Second Amendment rights, as well as another in 2008.
The rulings they reference are District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen in 2022.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that a New York law requiring citizens to demonstrate “proper cause” in order to obtain and carry a concealed pistol or revolver violated the Second Amendment.
In 2008, the court ruled that a District of Columbia law that strictly regulated handgun ownership was illegal.
‘The Challenged Laws Are Unconstitutional’
Additionally, the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit argue that the bans violate the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of individuals to bear arms.
“This is an exceedingly simple case. The Second Amendment protects arms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, especially self-defense in the home,” the plaintiffs wrote in their emergency application. “The arms banned by Respondents are possessed by millions of law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense in the home.”
The petitioners went on to argue that the recently passed local and state laws violate the 2008 and 2022 precedents.
“Under this Court’s precedents, ‘that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons’” the plaintiffs continued. “There cannot be the slightest question, therefore, that the challenged laws are unconstitutional.”
“The challenged laws are unconstitutional because ‘when the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct.’ Plaintiffs desire to keep and bear for lawful purposes (including defense of their homes) the semi-automatic firearms and firearm magazines banned by the challenged laws,” they wrote.
The lawsuit names the City of Naperville, Chief of Police Jason Arres, and the State of Illinois as defendants.
Illinois enacted a statewide ban earlier this year, but it has since been blocked by state and federal court judges amid ongoing litigation.
Gun control advocates argue that the laws are needed to help curb violence, pointing to a string of recent mass shootings. However, gun rights advocates say the move is unconstitutional.
Gun Bans ‘Destroying’ Livelihoods
In Bevis’s case, the gun shop owner argues that both state and local bans are “destroying” his livelihood by forcing his company out of business.
“Mr. Bevis has extended his personal credit, missed personal payments like home and car payments, maxed his credit limits, and taken out loans to pay the monthly bills,” the plaintiffs wrote, adding that his company will be unable to abide by the terms of its 15-year commercial lease for its business property or pay equipment leases and purchase inventory “if these bans remain in effect any longer.”
In April, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an injunction request by the plaintiffs in the Naperville lawsuit, arguing that if a court deems a weapon to be “particularly dangerous,” its use, sale, and ownership are not protected by the Second Amendment.
The injunction was also blocked by a district court, meaning the Supreme Court will have the final say on the matter which could potentially impact dozens of states across the country.
The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) welcomed Barrett’s intervention in a statement on May 1, adding that her request for further information “indicates interest from the Supreme Court in granting the request for relief.”
“We’re thankful the Supreme Court is taking the Second Amendment rights of Illinoisans seriously,” Dudley Brown, President of NAGR, told the Washington Examiner. “Any ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ is plainly unconstitutional, and now it is on the city of Naperville to explain the legal justification for their ban. Of course, there isn’t any. The bans were ludicrous from the start, and if Illinois had any sense, they would wave the white flag now and save us all some time.”
“We are aware of the request and anticipated that there would be legal challenges, but at this point we do not have any comment,” Linda L. LaCloche, the Director of Communications at the City Manager’s Office, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.