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NSSF Issues Statement on SCOTUS Denial of Illinois MSR Ban Challenge

Assault Weapon AR-15 assault rifle

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NSSF issued a statement today, declaring their disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of a writ of certiorari in Barnett v. Raoul, one of several challenges to Illinois’ bans on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) and standard-capacity magazines. The decision not to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision at this early stage of the litigation, while disappointing, does not mean the Supreme Court will not review the matter later after final judgment.

The Supreme Court denied review now because the U.S. Court of Appeals has not yet issued a final judgment. Justice Samuel Alito, however, would have granted the petition now. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “This Court is rightly wary of taking cases in an interlocutory posture. But, I hope we will consider the important issue presented by these petitions after the cases reach final judgment.”

Justice Thomas concluded Illinois’ bans are “highly suspect,” finding it “difficult to see how the Seventh Circuit could have concluded that the most widely owned semiautomatic rifles are not ‘Arms’ protected by the Second Amendment.” He added, “But, if the Seventh Circuit ultimately allows Illinois to ban America’s most common civilian rifle, we can—and should—review that decision once the cases reach a final judgment. The Court must not permit ‘the Seventh Circuit [to] relegat[e] the Second Amendment to a second-class right.’”

“We are disappointed the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to accept this challenge at this time to what is clearly an unconstitutional law,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Modern Sporting Rifle – or AR-15-style rifle – is the most popular-selling centerfire rifle in America, used for lawful purposes every day. That includes recreational target shooting, hunting and self-defense. These rifles are clearly ‘Arms’ that are protected by the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear.”

There are over 28.1 million MSRs in circulation today, more than there are Ford F-150s on the road today – the most popular-selling pick-up truck in America.

The challenge to Illinois’ ban on MSRs and standard-capacity magazines, Barnett v. Raoul, will now proceed to trial later this year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

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