Naperville, state of Illinois urge U.S. Supreme Court not to block ban on assault-style weapons

Gun shop owner Robert Bevis has asked the Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings upholding the ban.

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In this file photo, Robert Bevis, owner of Law Weapons and Supply in Naperville, holding an AR15 rifle.

Robert Bevis, owner of Law Weapons and Supply in Naperville, holding an AR15 rifle. Bevis has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that upheld an assault weapons ban adopted by Naperville in 2022.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Attorneys for Naperville and the state of Illinois urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday not to block local and state laws banning the sale of assault-style weapons.

Robert Bevis, a gun shop owner in Naperville, has challenged a town ordinance and a state law ending the sale of the weapons, arguing that they violate the Second Amendment.

Bevis so far has failed to persuade federal judges in Chicago and has asked the Supreme Court for an emergency injunction stopping the laws from being enforced while his case is heard.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who reviews such requests from Midwestern states, last week requested more information from the state and the city about their bans before ruling.

On Monday, the state and the town filed their responses, mirroring arguments they have used successfully in the U.S. District Court and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Both argued that an injunction wasn’t justified because Bevis’ chances of ultimately winning his case are not certain. Meantime, the safety of residents is at stake, they argued.

“A single businessperson claims he may, as this litigation proceeds, suffer financial losses because he cannot sell a limited category of extremely dangerous assault rifles of little practical use for self-defense,” lawyers for Naperville wrote.

“At the same time ... the residents of Naperville and Illinois will be placed at additional risk of mass murder,” they wrote. “Those consequences far outweigh applicants’ speculative and purely monetary business concerns.”

Weeks after a gunman opened fire with an assault-style rifle at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade last year, Naperville’s city council adopted an ordinance banning the sale of similar high-powered rifles, as well high-capacity magazines and other accessories. A similar state-wide ban took effect in January.

Bevis, owner of Law Weapons and Supply, filed a lawsuit challenging the bans, and claiming he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales because of them. A federal judge in Chicago denied his request for an injunction in January, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Bevis in March.

A federal judge in southern Illinois was persuaded to issue an injunction against the state law last month but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled him last week.

Bevis, who has sued along with the National Association for Gun Rights, argues that recent Supreme Court rulings make clear that bans on specific categories of firearms violate the Second Amendment.

“This is an exceedingly simple case,” Bevis’ lawyers wrote in their petition for the injunction. “The Second Amendment protects arms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, especially self-defense in the home.”

It isn’t known when Barrett might rule.

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