Supreme Court justice requests more information on Naperville gun sale ban
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is giving the city of Naperville until next Monday to provide further information regarding its local ordinance prohibiting the sale of certain high-powered weapons.
Barrett's request comes after a Naperville gun shop owner asked her to temporarily halt enforcement of Naperville's gun ban and Illinois' similar ban while both are being challenged in lower courts.
Robert Bevis, who owns Law Weapons & Supply, and the National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the gun sale ban enacted by Naperville.
The association and its legal defense arm, the National Foundation for Gun Rights, argue that the Illinois ban violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right of individuals to bear arms.
But U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall found the state ban to be "constitutionally sound." And the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on April 18 denied Bevis' request for an injunction while he appeals Kendall's ruling.
So Bevis and the National Association for Gun Rights filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court for an "injunction pending appellate review" on April 26.
The filing argues that Bevis' business has suffered because of the ban and might end up closing if it can't sell the popular guns.
If the injunction is granted, association officials said it would "grant emergency temporary relief for gun owners in Naperville, namely Bevis."
"Bevis, NAGR's plaintiff, faces the loss of his business if relief is not swiftly granted," the group said in a statement.
The city of Naperville has until 11 a.m. May 8 to respond to Justice Barrett.
Naperville officials on Monday declined to comment.
The National Association for Gun Rights claims in a statement Barrett's request "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," said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights. "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."
Barrett is the Supreme Court justice assigned to consider injunction petitions for the 7th Circuit, which covers federal district courts in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. She could ask the entire Supreme Court to consider the petition.
The state law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Jan. 10, prohibits the manufacture, sale and possession of more than 190 types of firearms that it classifies as "assault weapons," as well as many grips, stocks and attachments. It also bans large-capacity magazines like the ones used in the Highland Park Independence Day parade shooting last year that enabled a gunman to fire off more than 70 shots in just a few minutes.
The Naperville City Council passed an ordinance in August prohibiting the sale of certain high-powered rifles within city limits except for sales to law enforcement officers. The exception also applies to the U.S. military, including the Illinois National Guard.
Bevis' lawsuit is just one of several seeking to overturn the state ban.
On Friday, a federal judge in East St. Louis issued an order blocking enforcement of Illinois' ban until a separate lawsuit challenging the law is resolved.
In a 29-page opinion, Judge Stephen P. McGlynn acknowledged that the law was passed in the wake of the Highland Park mass shooting, but he said the "senseless crimes of a relative few" cannot be used to justify abridging the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. Based on other recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, McGlynn said, the state needed to show that the items being banned are not in "common use" and that they are the types of firearms that have been regulated historically.
McGlynn's decision came less than a week after another federal judge in Chicago, Lindsay Jenkins of the Northern District of Illinois, reached an opposite conclusion and denied a motion to halt enforcement of the law. She said the laws are intended to protect public safety by removing particularly dangerous weapons from circulation, and that the government's interest in protecting public safety outweighs any harm the laws might have on a person's right to keep and bear arms.
• Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.