Naperville gun shop owner appeals his case against state ban to U.S. Supreme Court

Robert Bevis is seeking an emergency junction, one week after a federal appeals court in Chicago turned down his request.

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Robert Bevis, owner of Law Weapons and Supply in Naperville, holds an AR-15-style rifle.

Robert Bevis, owner of Law Weapons and Supply in Naperville, holds an AR-15-style rifle.

Rich Hein / Sun-Times file

A Naperville gun shop owner is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block Illinois’ assault weapon ban while he fights the law in federal court.

Robert Bevis is seeking an emergency junction, one week after a federal appeals court in Chicago turned down his request.

“This is an exceedingly simple case,” Bevis argues in his appeal, filed on Wednesday. “The Second Amendment protects arms that are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, especially self-defense in the home.”

Illinois banned the sale of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines in a bill signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Jan. 10. It requires that anyone who already owned such a weapon to register it with the Illinois State Police.

The law also caps the purchase of magazines at 10 rounds for long guns and 15 for handguns and made rapid-fire devices known as switches illegal because they turn firearms into fully automatic weapons.

Pritzker’s signature came six months after a man used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to kill seven people and wound more than 48 others at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade.

Bevis challenged the law in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, arguing that his Law Weapons & Supply business suffered because of the ban and might end up closing if it can’t sell the popular guns. His lawsuit was just one of several seeking to overturn the ban.

Bevis’ lawyers have cited earlier Supreme Court rulings that weapons must be found to be “dangerous and unusual” to be banned. Because assault-style rifles are “commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” they can’t be banned because they are “not unusual,” they argued.

But U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall turned Bevis down, finding that the ban was “constitutionally sound.” Kendall wrote that “because assault weapons are particularly dangerous weapons … their regulation accords with history and tradition.”

Bevis then took his case to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which turned him down last week.

His latest appeal was submitted to Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who handles such appeals from the 7th Circuit.

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