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Supreme Court Sidesteps Several New Gun Cases, Including Challenge to State Assault Weapons Ban
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By Associated Press
Published 1 week ago on
July 2, 2024

The Supreme Court has avoided a new wave of Second Amendment disputes, including a challenge to an Illinois assault weapons ban. (AP/Susan Walsh)

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court sidestepped a new set of Second Amendment fights Tuesday, declining to hear a challenge to an assault weapons ban in Illinois and sending other gun cases back to lower courts, including a challenge to the law used to convict Hunter Biden.

The moves came after the justices upheld a gun law intended to protect victims of domestic violence, the first guns rights case following a landmark ruling two years ago that expanded gun rights. The court still has another firearm case on its docket for the fall, weighing a Biden administration appeal overregulation of difficult-to-trace ghost guns.

The justices left for another day questions about other state and federal gun restrictions that have arisen in the wake of the 2022 ruling known as Bruen, which said that gun laws must be grounded in historic tradition to stay on the books.

Justice Samuel Alito disagreed with the high court’s decision not to hear a challenge to then Illinois assault weapons ban in the fall. Justice Clarence Thomas referred to the law as “highly suspect” and wrote in a statement that he hopes to take up the case after lower courts reach a final judgment.

The law passed after a mass shooting at a 2022 Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburbs left seven people dead. Ten states and the District of Columbia now have bans on semiautomatic guns often referred to as assault weapons, according to the gun control group Brady, which tracks the legislation.

Other Gun Cases Sent Back to Lower Courts

Another gun case challenging the law used to convict Hunter Biden was sent back to lower courts for another look after the high court’s June decision in the domestic-violence-related gun case.

The justices told the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to take another look at their ruling that struck down a longstanding ban on drug users having guns. Hunter Biden’s defense attorneys have cited the ruling as they fight the case filed against him for buying a gun during a period when he was addicted to drugs.

The Supreme Court also sent back to lower courts several cases challenging a law against people having guns after they are convicted of crimes. That includes the case of Bryan Range, a Pennsylvania man convicted of misstating his income to get food stamps for his family in 1995. An appeals court decided a lifetime gun ban violated his Second Amendment rights.

New York Gun Law Also Challenged

The justices also sent back a case challenging a gun law in New York, the same state that gave rise to the high court’s Bruen ruling.

New York passed a new measure after the justices struck down its strict concealed carry law. It opened the door to more people getting licenses while putting restrictions on where guns could be carried, including playgrounds, schools, theaters, places that serve alcohol and buses.

An appeals court blocked parts of that measure but allowed the state to continue banning firearms in certain “sensitive” locations and denying gun licenses to dangerous people.

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