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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds City's Ban on Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines

Washington D.C., December 7, 2015 - In a 7-2 decision Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, upholding an ordinance by the city of Highland Park, IL, banning certain military-style assault weapons, such as semi-automatic rifles like those carried by the San Bernardino shooters, and high-capacity ammunition magazines. In a written dissent, Justices Thomas and Scalia contended that the Second Amendment extends to weapons commonly used for unlawful purposes, including semi-automatic rifles.

Dan Gross, President of the Brady Center and Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, applauded the decision saying: “The corporate gun lobby’s top priority is to sell as many guns to as many people as possible regardless of the type of gun, or the background or intentions of the people buying them. By rejecting this case, today the Supreme Court sided with a community that has taken action to protect itself from the type of violence we’ve seen in San Bernardino, on college campuses and in movie theaters. The American people have had enough of gun violence and, with the exception of Justices Thomas and Scalia, in this case, the Supreme Court sided with them.”

Jonathan Lowy, Director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project said: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court will not disturb the ruling that the Constitution allows for common sense public safety laws, and does not entitle people to military-style weapons of war. Like any right, the Second Amendment is necessarily limited by the public’s right to live – a right not to be shot.”

Friedman arose from a Highland Park City ordinance that prohibits the manufacture, sale, or possession of specific military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Arie S. Friedman, a Highland Park resident, who owned a banned rifle and ammunition, sued the city. Friedman claimed that the Second Amendment entitled him to possess assault weapons. Highland Park countered, chiefly arguing that the Second Amendment does not cover the prohibited weapons. The District Court upheld the law as Constitutional, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit affirmed. In both courts, the Brady Center filed amicus briefs in support of the City, with the assistance of the Skadden Arps law firm. The Brady Center argued that there is no Second Amendment right to possess extraordinarily dangerous weapons, like those prohibited in the ordinance.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in the common sense. In the spirit of our founders Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 25 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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