Gun rights group files emergency petition to SCOTUS on gun ban case

Gun rights group files emergency petition to SCOTUS on gun ban case
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Illinois has been going above and beyond as of late to make Second Amendment related news. The National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit last year challenging the city of Naperville’s so-called “assault weapons” ban. That case, Bevis et al v. City of Naperville was amended earlier this year to include the State of Illinois as a plaintiff, which enacted a ban in January. The request for an injunction against the law made its way all the way to the Seventh Circuit, and Bevis were not granted any temporary relief. It was announced in a release that an emergency appeal has been filed to the Supreme Court of the United States on the matter.

There was a similar situation in the Second Circuit Court of appeals, with a challenge to a New York law that’s unconstitutional – also enacted post NYSRPA v. Bruen – and the plaintiffs were moved to make an emergency appeal to the high court. In that case, the Second Circuit refused to respect the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision. While SCOTUS did not intervene in that case, Justice Alito did state in an unsigned order the following:

Applicants should not be deterred by today’s order from again seeking relief if the Second Circuit does not, within a reasonable time, provide an explanation for its stay order or expedite consideration of the appeal.

Appealing to SCOTUS at these stages in the game for emergency relief is not necessarily something that’s commonplace, but may draw the ire of the justices on how the lower courts are disobeying their orders.

The National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) is asking the United States Supreme Court to provide emergency relief from two assault weapons bans in place in Illinois.

NFGR argues that the Illinois ban violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right of individuals to bear arms. NFGR’s lawsuit also challenges an AR-15 sale ban enacted by the City of Naperville, IL.

NFGR initially requested a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois blocking both the state and local bans on behalf of fellow plaintiff, Naperville gun store owner Robert Bevis, whose livelihood has been severely impacted by both bans. The district court trampled multiple Supreme Court precedents to rule against gun rights, so foundation attorneys appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, pleading that Plaintiff Bevis was facing the loss of his business without speedy relief.

The Seventh Circuit declined to temporarily block the two semi-auto bans pending its review of the preliminary injunction appeal, so NFGR is filing an Emergency Application for Injunction Pending Appellate Review with the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s interesting to note that in many cases, lower courts have been getting the orders correct. In this case, the Seventh Circuit, and in the case of Antonyuck v. Nigrelli, from the Second Circuit, they are not willing to enjoin bad laws while the cases play out. We’re likely to see cases out of New Jersey challenging the so-called “carry killer” law there, head to the Third Circuit as soon as an opinion is delivered by Judge Bumb in a Federal Court.

Is this going to be the trend? Are the Circuit Courts of Appeal going to completely ignore the Supreme Court on all these issues concerning firearms by reversing the enjoinment/restraining orders of lower courts, or not enjoining them themselves?

“The assault weapons ban is a blatant violation of the rights of law-abiding citizens and does nothing to address the causes of gun violence,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Foundation for Gun Rights. “Between them, Illinois and the City of Naperville are about to drive a law-abiding gun store owner into bankruptcy just because they don’t like his business. That’s grossly unconstitutional, and we’re asking the Supreme Court to put a stop to it.”

NAGAR’s opening remark in their filing to the high court hits at the core of the issue:

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. See New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111, 2128 (2022) (citing D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 629 (2008)). The arms banned by Respondents are possessed by millions of lawabiding citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense in the home. 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.” Friedman v. City of Highland Park, Ill., 577 U.S. 1039 (2015) (Thomas, J., joined by Scalia, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari). There cannot be the slightest question, therefore, that the challenged laws are unconstitutional. 

Kudos! to NAGAR for punting this case into the lap of the Supreme Court. Eventually one of these lower courts’ decisions is going to tick off the high court at one of these stages and they’re going to have to step in. At least, one would think so. Given the way the Circuits behave, we can almost assume that whenever the pending cases in California make their way to the Ninth Circuit, that we’ll be dealing with similar malfeasance within the judicial system, and who knows what’ll come of the cases in the Third Circuit. We’ll be watching the progress of this case and report back with any new developments.