Naperville, IL, took action to protect their community from the devastation caused by assault weapons.
Now the gun lobby is challenging the city's ban on the commercial sale of assault weapons, looking to eventually take the case to the Supreme Court in an effort to eliminate assault weapon bans across the country.
Brady Legal represents the city of Naperville and is fighting to protect the hard-won local and state assault weapon bans that save lives.
In the wake of the devastating Highland Park, IL, July 4th mass shooting, the city of Naperville, IL, took an important step to protect the safety of their community by banning the commercial sale of assault weapons. Now, that ban is being challenged by one of the gun industry’s leading advocates, the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR).
We refuse to let the gun industry put profits over public safety. That’s why Brady’s legal team is representing the city of Naperville. NAGR is also suing the state of Illinois for its new assault weapons ban, which Brady helped pass in 2023. Since the 2022 Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the NAGR has filed seven lawsuits challenging assault weapon and large-capacity magazine bans. If they’re successful, assault weapon and large-capacity magazine bans across the country could be rolled back at a time when the nation is experiencing record levels of mass shootings.
“States and cities should have the right to stop these weapons of war from decimating our communities. We don’t have to live in fear of the gun industry, and we stand with Illinois and Naperville in their fight. ”- Brady President Kris Brown
WHAT ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN NAGR V. NAPERVILLE?
While the lawsuit unfolds, the ban on assault weapons remains in place in both Naperville and the state of Illinois. This is despite the gun industry’s request for an injunction to stop the laws from taking effect until the court decides their constitutionality.
The NAGR first requested an injunction from the district court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Brady opposed and the requests were denied. They then filed the injunction request on the Supreme Court’s “shadow docket,” which means the case is reviewed without full briefing or hearing. Fortunately, on May 17, 2023, the Supreme Court refused the NAGR’s request, allowing the life-saving law to remain in effect. This was an important victory, but the fight is far from over. The ban will still need to survive review in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral argument is scheduled for June 29, 2023.
WHAT IS BEING ARGUED IN NAGR V. CITY OF NAPERVILLE?
The NAGR claims that bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment and incompatible with the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and NYSRPA v. Bruen. The lawsuit argues that Naperville’s ordinance and the Illinois statute prohibit individuals from conduct that is supposedly protected by the text of the Second Amendment, and that the laws are not consistent with historical traditions in the United States of regulating firearms. The lawsuit also argues that assault weapons are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.
For decades, the gun industry has dangerously tried to reshape the way courts interpret the Second Amendment. In doing so, they have made us all decidedly less safe. Assault weapons are fundamentally different from the firearms available at the time the Second Amendment was written and are significantly more lethal. In fact, in shootings where assault weapons are used, 155% more people are shot.
In their lawsuit, the NAGR also claims that mass shootings are “rare” and a “phenomenon” resulting in only 27 deaths per year, but mass shootings are not rare. The U.S. has already experienced over 200 mass shootings in 2023, resulting in the deaths of 200 people. Every year, more than 100,000 people are injured across the country due to gun violence, and more than 40,000 are killed. The gun industry cannot gaslight our nation into thinking that easy access to weapons of war is a solution, rather than part of the problem.
Courts have upheld assault weapon bans as constitutional – even after Bruen. And in Heller, the Supreme Court supports reasonable restrictions on guns, declaring that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
Rolling back life-saving assault weapons bans — which are proven to save lives — will only worsen America’s gun violence epidemic and lead to more bloodshed.
“This case is an example of the gun industry undermining the knowledge and needs of all those residing in Illinois. By trying to stop this ban, the gun industry is once again putting profits over safety."- Brady Chief Legal Officer Douglas Letter
WHAT WILL NAGR V. NAPERVILLE MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF ASSAULT WEAPON BANS IN THE U.S.?
Currently, 10 states and Washington, D.C. have assault weapon bans and numerous localities also have ordinances banning these weapons of war. If NAGR is successful in their lawsuit, it could have devastating consequences for these communities and the entire country.
Our justice system relies on the outcomes of other cases to guide courts’ decisions. It is imperative that Illinois and Naperville succeed in their cases to prevent the gun industry from rolling back life-saving gun laws across the country. A decision by the Seventh Circuit only applies to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, but NAGR v. Naperville, or a similar case, could be challenged all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bans on assault weapons are critical to preventing violent attacks both in the areas where they are in effect and in surrounding regions. A Supreme Court decision declaring Naperville’s assault weapons ban unconstitutional would undermine attempts from states and localities across the country that are working to keep their communities safe. And with assault weapons being the weapon of choice for mass shooters, expanding access to these firearms will inevitably lead to future attacks on our schools, places of worship, movie theaters, malls, and all the places we should feel safe.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE REALITY OF ASSAULT WEAPONS IN THE U.S.?
Let’s be clear, assault weapons were designed with one purpose: to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The NAGR argues that the “relative dangerousness” of assault weapons is irrelevant. We DISAGREE. These military-style weapons can liquefy organs, pulverize bones, and leave victims — especially children — unidentifiable. They have no place in civilian hands, plain and simple.
Over 60% of Americans support a national assault weapons ban and the momentum is growing. Americans from all walks of life have seen the mass destruction these weapons cause and are tired of living in fear.