The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal pertaining to a 2nd Amendment challenge to a local ordinance passed in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park Monday that forbids the sale or possession of semiautomatic weapons that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
In a 7-2 vote, the justices let stand a ruling by a Chicago judge and intermediate appellate court. The decision by the court does not constitute a formal ruling and cannot be relied upon as precedent for future challenges. Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented. Had the court decided to hear the appeal, and then ruled that the law violates the 2nd amendment, it is likely that similar laws passed in many states would have likely been deemed unconstitutional.
In the circuit court, dissenting judge, Judge Daniel A. Manion wrote: “By prohibiting a class of weapons commonly used throughout the country,” he wrote, “Highland Park’s ordinance infringes upon the rights of its citizens to keep weapons in their homes for the purpose of defending themselves, their families and their property.”
The Chicago Tribune had reported that when the ordinance was being considered, it was an “emotional meeting in which people lined the walls and overflowed from the City Council chamber, Highland Park officials voted this week to ban assault weapons in their community. Gun enthusiasts said the ordinance would not stop crime — except by making criminals out of responsible rifle owners. Others applauded the move as helping protect the city against tragedies”.
Since the decision not to hear the case is not a final ruling, it is unclear when subsequent appeals, perhaps on slightly different facts, will follow. The court’s decision on Monday came on the heels of the two mass shootings involving weapons similar to those banned in the ordinance.