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Supreme Court sidesteps several new gun cases, including challenge to Illinois assault weapons ban

Supreme Court sidesteps several new gun cases, including challenge to Illinois assault weapons ban

Supreme Court sidesteps several new gun cases, including challenge to Illinois assault weapons ban

The Supreme Court in Washington.
AP

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday sidestepped a new series of fights over the Second Amendment, declining to hear a challenge to Illinois’ assault weapons ban 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 aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence, the first gun rights case following a landmark ruling two years ago that expanded gun rights. The court still has one other firearms case on its docket for the fall, weighing an appeal by the Biden administration over regulating hard-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 gun laws must be grounded in historical tradition to remain in effect.

Justice Samuel Alito disagreed with the high court’s decision not to hear a challenge to Illinois’ assault weapons ban in the fall, and Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a statement that he looks forward to taking up the case after lower courts reach a final ruling.

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

Another gun case challenging the law used to convict Hunter Biden has been sent back to lower courts for further consideration following the high court’s June decision in the domestic violence-related gun case.

The justices asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to re-examine its ruling that struck down a long-standing ban on drug users owning guns. Hunter Biden’s defense attorneys have cited the ruling as they fight the case brought against him for purchasing 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 that prohibited people from owning guns after being convicted of crimes. Among them was the case of Bryan Range, a Pennsylvania man convicted of falsifying his income to obtain food stamps for his family in 1995. An appeals court ruled that a lifetime ban on gun ownership violated his Second Amendment rights.

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

New York passed a new measure after judges struck down its strict concealed carry law. The measure opened the door for more people to obtain licenses, but imposed restrictions on where guns can 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.