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U.S. Supreme Court moves gun ban challenges to conference

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Cases challenging gun and magazine bans, including several lawsuits from Illinois, have been distributed for an upcoming conference of the U.S. Supreme Court.

After Illinois banned more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over certain capacities in January 2023, federal lawsuits were filed. Appeals of separate preliminary actions against the law were shot down by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last year. Plaintiffs in February asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court moved several Illinois cases, and one challenging Maryland’s ban, to conference for May 16, 2024.

“It’s very significant because we’ve been trying very hard to get a case to the Supreme Court dealing with these issues and I think now we’re going to get there,” the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb told The Center Square.

Gottlieb expects if the court does take the cases, they will be consolidated.

“The end of the month is realistic to find out,” he said. “And, it may happen in June.”

The state of Illinois argues in filings that the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals made the right decision saying the ban has a likelihood of succeeding on the merits, equating banned semi-automatic firearms to military weapons. Gottlieb disagreed and said the U.S. Supreme Court must step in.

“It’s extremely important because if you can ban semi-automatic firearms today, you can ban single-shot guns tomorrow,” Gottlieb said. “The problem is that the Second Amendment is pretty clear. It doesn’t say that improvements to technology limit your Bill of Rights.”

Plaintiffs say states and lower courts are ignoring previous U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in 2022 that requires states and courts to reflect both the text of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and founding era gun regulations when making and defending gun control laws.

One group of consolidated cases remains in the Southern District of Illinois U.S. Court with the expectation a trial on the merits will take place in July.