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Justices Upset Supreme Court Will Not Hear Highland Park Weapons Appeal

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supreme court, weapons ban, Joliet criminal defense attorneyKeeping with what many believe to be an intentional trend to avoid Second Amendment cases, the Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear a case challenging a local weapons-related ordinance in Highland Park, Illinois. The ban, upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in April, prohibits the possession and sale of many semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines within the municipality's limits.

The high court's refusal to take up the case was confirmed this week by a vote of 7-2. As is customary, there was no reason given for the decision to reject the appeal, but the two dissenting Justices were very vocal in their disagreement.

“Flouting” Precedent

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a six-page dissenting opinion, expressing strong displeasure at the course chosen by the majority. He was joined by Justice Antonin Scalia in stating that, if he had his way, the court would have heard the case and struck down the ban as unconstitutional. In his dissent, Justice Thomas accused the lower court of “flouting two of our Second Amendment precedents,” referring to previous rulings based on the idea that the banned weapons are used for lawful purposes by a vast majority of owners. “Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.” Furthermore, Justice Thomas sees the lower court's ruling as “relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.”

Non-Binding Decision

Gun control proponents believe that local bans like the one enacted in Highland Park are necessary to reduce easy access to the types of weapons used in mass shootings around the country. In fact, the Highland Park law itself was a reaction to the 2012 shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut. While the Seventh Circuit Court's ruling allowed the restrictions to stand, the decision by the Supreme Court does not establish any legal precedent. Informally, however, it seems to send the message that the current version of the court is not likely to take on wide-reaching Second Amendments cases, much to the chagrin of gun rights advocates.

If you are facing weapons-related charges for the illegal possession or use of a firearm, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we take your rights very seriously and will protect them vigorously throughout the process. Call 815-666-1285 to schedule an appointment today and get the quality representation you deserve.


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