U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block Illinois’ assault weapons ban as full legal challenges progress

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Gov. JB Pritzker takes questions at a news conference Thursday in Springfield. Pritzker said he believes Illinois' assault weapons ban is constitutional as gun rights advocates prepare to challenge the law before the U.S. Supreme Court. | Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

SPRINGFIELD – The U.S. Supreme Court issued two orders this week turning down requests to block enforcement of Illinois’ assault weapons ban while challenges to the law are still being heard in lower courts.

On Wednesday, Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned down a request from Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins, of Decatur, and other gun rights advocates who lost their challenge to the law earlier this year at the Illinois Supreme Court.

Read more: Illinois Supreme Court upholds assault weapon ban, but federal test remains

And on Thursday, the full court issued an unsigned order denying a similar request for an injunction by the National Association for Gun Rights, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging both the statewide ban and a local ban in the city of Naperville.

NAGR filed its request Nov. 29 while it was waiting for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether it would reconsider its earlier decision upholding the law as constitutional. But the 7th Circuit said Monday it would not reconsider that decision.

Because of that, NAGR said this week it is now preparing to ask the Supreme Court for a full review of the law.

Speaking to reporters in Springfield at an unrelated event Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker, who signed the law back in January, said he still believes it is constitutional.

“I still believe that – as everybody that voted on the law and voted for it – that this is not only a legal undertaking and an appropriate undertaking to keep and safeguard the people of the state of Illinois, but a constitutional one too,” he said.

Read more: What to know about Illinois’ assault weapons ban

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