Supreme Court justice gives Naperville until Monday to respond to challenge of assault weapons ban

A Supreme Court justice has given the city of Naperville a chance to reply to a challenge to the city and state bans on assault weapons, opening the door to a possible high court review of the issue.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett gave the city until Monday to respond to a Naperville gun shop owner who says the ban is unconstitutional and is putting him out of business.

Robert Bevis, owner of Law Weapons & Supply, and the National Association for Gun Rights want the bans to be put on hold until lawsuits challenging the bans are resolved.

Bevis and the foundation had requested the federal court in Chicago approve a temporary injunction on the bans but were denied. U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ruled in February that both the city ordinance and the state law, which establish similar sales restrictions, did not violate the Constitution. With that ruling, Naperville began enforcing its ban on the sale of assault rifles.

The Illinois ban on the sale of certain high-powered semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines remains in limbo after a downstate judge struck down the new law. The Illinois Supreme Court will take up the state’s appeal during its May term.

Bevis and the foundation appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, but the court denied the appeal, so the plaintiffs filed an emergency application for an injunction with the U.S. Supreme Court.

In response, Naperville director of communications Linda LaCloche wrote to the Tribune, “We are aware of the request and anticipated that there would be legal challenges, but at this point we do not have any comment.”

Foundation President Dudley Brown called the ban a “blatant violation of the rights of law-abiding citizens and does nothing to address the causes of gun violence.”

Barrett handles injunction petitions for the 7th Circuit, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. She could ask the Supreme Court to consider the appeal.

The Naperville City Council in August of last year voted 8-1 to approve a ban on what it defined as semi-automatic assault rifles, but took out bans on certain handguns at Bevis’ request.

The Illinois law bans the delivery, sale, import and purchase of guns that are designated in the law as “assault weapons,” and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns.

The city and state laws were prompted after the Fourth of July shooting in Highland Park last year, in which, authorities say, a gunman used an AR-15-style rifle and high-capacity magazines to fire more than 70 rounds, killing seven people and wounding 48.