The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to pass up a challenge to an Illinois assault-weapon ban may encourage other government entities to pass similar bans, and it does not signal an end to litigation over what kinds of gun regulation will pass muster under the Second Amendment, says the National Law Journal. The court refused to hear Friedman v. City of Highland Park, Illinois, a lawsuit against the city’s ordinance that bans categories of weapons like those used in the California massacre. The Chicago suburb outlawed so-called assault rifles and large-capacity magazines. A dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Antonin Scalia, suggested that the legal debate is far from over and scolded appeals courts for misinterpreting the court’s rulings on the Second Amendment.
David Kopel, gun rights advocate at the Colorado-based Independence Institute, said, “There’s still tons of litigation out there.” California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have bans similar to Highland Park's ordinance. The high court’s denial of certiorari may result from the fact that so far, lower federal courts have ruled in favor of statutes like the one in Highland Park—depriving the court of a conflict to resolve. In the Highland Park case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit referred to mass violence in upholding the ordinance. “If a ban on semi?automatic guns and large?capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting and makes the public feel safer as a result, that's a substantial benefit,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote.