dreamstimemaximum_30672109Supreme Court Denies Review of Assault Weapons Ban

On Monday, December 7, 2015, the United States Supreme Court denied review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit€™s ruling in Friedman v. City of Highland Park. The case arose out of the City of Highland Parks ordinance prohibiting possession of €œassault weapons€ and €œlarge-capacity magazines, defined as a magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. The ordinance broadly defines an €œassault weapon€ as any semi-automatic firearm that can accept a large-capacity magazine and has one of five enumerated characteristics. The ordinance also prohibits some rifles, such as AR-15s and AK-47s, by name. Plaintiffs in the Friedman case brought suit seeking to overturn the ban as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court€™s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller.

The Seventh Circuit in Friedman concluded the ordinance was constitutional. Selectively using language from the Heller opinion, the Seventh Circuit examined €œwhether [the] regulation bans weapons that were common at the time of ratification or those that have €˜some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, and whether law-abiding citizens retain adequate means of self-defense. €œAssault weapons,€ the Seventh Circuit noted, were not common at the time of ratification and the ordinance leaves other firearms available for self-defense. The Seventh Circuit concluded that states should be permitted to determine whether their citizens should have assault weapons available for use in a militia, and thus left the decision of whether to prohibit certain firearms to the state (or, in this instance, to a municipality).

In their certiorari petition, Mr. Friedman and the Illinois State Rifle Association argued that review by the Court was warranted due to the varied and inconsistent application ofHeller by the lower courts. In their dissent to the Court’s denial of certiorari, Justices Thomas and Scalia agreed with the petitioners and argued that the Seventh Circuit failed to follow Heller in upholding the ban. The dissenting justices argued that Heller concluded that the Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation€ and that the Friedman opinion did not review the ordinance under Hellers mandate. The denial is significant because it marks the continued refusal of the Court to define how far the ruling in Heller extends and leaves the confusion among the circuit courts as to how to apply the Courts seminal ruling in Heller. A copy of the Seventh Circuit€™s opinion can be found here. A copy of the denial of petitioners€™ writ of certiorari can be found here.

Renzulli Law Firm is Monitoring Firearm-Related Legislative Developments

Renzulli Law Firm, nationally recognized as one of the premier law firms in the country serving the Firearms Industry, is monitoring legislative developments affecting the industry and publishing regular updates which are available by e-mail and on this website. Any questions you may have about these developments should be directed to John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.