Supreme Court Decides Against Early Intervention in Illinois AR-15 Ban Case

The Supreme Court has declined to issue an emergency injunction request against an Illinois city’s “assault weapons” ban on Wednesday.

The request was made by the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), which has challenged a ban on AR-15s and similar firearms enacted by Naperville, Illinois. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the circuit the case is filed in, requested a brief from the city in defense of its law after the gun-rights group asked the Court to intervene because a lower court upheld the ban.

“The application for a writ of injunction pending appeal presented to Justice Barrett and by her referred to the Court is denied,” the order in NAGR v. Naperville reads.

Barrett’s request for a brief in the case opened the possibility that the Court might be willing to jump the line and block the city’s ban on an emergency basis. That would have been a rare move, which the Court also declined to do in two recent Second Amendment cases challenging New York’s latest gun restrictions. The Court taking the less aggressive path of allowing the case to play out on the merits in the lower courts before deciding whether or not to get involved represents a setback for gun-rights advocates who had hoped they could achieve a quick win on the issue of assault weapons bans.

Naperville said it is “pleased” with the decision and vowed to continue defending its ban.

“The City’s ordinance is intended to protect the health and safety of our community,” Linda L. LaCloche, director of communications for the city manager’s office, told The Reload. “We will continue to defend the ordinance against legal challenges and expect future court decisions as the legal process runs its course.”

The case against Naperville’s ban is separate from the newer statewide ban. Naperville enacted its ban in August 2022. State lawmakers passed their ban in January 2023. Both have faced significant backlash from gun-rights supporters but the statewide ban has come under even more intense scrutiny since its passage.

The statewide ban has since been ruled unconstitutional in state and federal court, though those rulings have since been stayed by higher courts. Oral arguments in the case against the statewide ban were heard at the Illinois Supreme Court yesterday. It has also faced backlash from a majority of Illinois sheriffs who say they won’t enforce the ban because they consider it unconstitutional.

The Naperville ordinance has fared better by comparison. A federal district judge denied a preliminary injunction against the Naperville ordinance in February, and the Seventh Circuit rejected NAGR’s request to block enforcement of the law while its appeal is being processed. Now, the Supreme Court has done the same.

The Court’s denial of NAGR’s request in the Naperville case was done without any comment or noted dissents. That sets it apart from one of the emergency injunction denials in the New York Second Amendment cases. In Antonyuk v. Nigrelli, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, noted the Court’s decision not to intervene on an emergency basis reflected its deference to lower court proceedings rather than an endorsement of New York’s new gun restrictions.

“I understand the Court’s denial today to reflect respect for the Second Circuit’s procedures in managing its own docket, rather than expressing any view on the merits of the case,” Alito wrote.

The pair said the New York law in question presents “novel and serious questions under both the First and the Second Amendments” and went on to praise the district court’s ruling against much of the law as “a thorough opinion.” It noted the Second Circuit Court of Appeals had issued “unreasoned summary stay orders” against the injunctions in Anyonyuk and several other cases involving the New York law before encouraging the plaintiffs to refile for emergency relief if the lower court drags its feet.

“Applicants should not be deterred by today’s order from again seeking relief if the Second Circuit does not, within a reasonable time, provide an explanation for its stay order or expedite consideration of the appeal,” Alito wrote.

In NAGR v. Naperville, none of the justices said anything about the district court’s decision to uphold the city’s ban on the sale of AR-15s and other popular firearms. That provides less insight into how the justices may feel about the case itself beyond agreeing not to get involved at this point.

NAGR did not respond to a request for comment on the Court’s denial.

Why Post-Bruen Gun-Carry Restrictions Might Backfire

Formerly may-issue states continue to thumb their noses at the Supreme Court by passing some of the country’s most restrictive concealed carry laws. In doing so, they run the risk of undermining licensing schemes altogether.

Last Monday, Maryland became the third state impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen to pass a complete overhaul of its concealed carry laws. In a pair of bills, the state assembly greatly increased the application fees for new “wear and carry” permits, expanded its training requirements, and added new “sensitive places” throughout the state where licensed carry would be a crime. The off-limits areas include almost all publicly-accessible private property, like stores or restaurants.

The bills followed a familiar blueprint already established by states like New York and New Jersey, who were the first two states to rebuke the Court with onerous new laws. Fellow affected states, Hawaii and California, appear poised to do the same.

But those states are tempting judicial fate with their replacement laws, as evidenced by the parameters laid out by Justice Thomas in his Bruen opinion. The early track record of legal challenges to New York and New Jersey’s carry laws, where there have thus far been at least five injunctions between the two, can also attest to that fact. But even aside from the constitutional issues, on a more practical level, establishing a political norm of using licensing regimes to make exercising gun rights as difficult as possible creates new skepticism over the very idea of licensing laws.

The Supreme Court went to great lengths in its Bruen opinion to make clear that it was not yet prepared to call into question the legitimacy of standard “shall-issue” licensing laws.

“To be clear, nothing in our analysis should be interpreted to suggest the unconstitutionality of the 43 States’ ‘shall-issue’ licensing regimes, under which ‘a general desire for self-defense is sufficient to obtain a [permit]’,” Justice Thomas wrote in his opinion. “Because these licensing regimes do not require applicants to show an atypical need for armed self-defense, they do not necessarily prevent ‘law-abiding, responsible citizens’ from exercising their Second Amendment right to public carry. Rather, it appears that these shall-issue regimes, which often require applicants to undergo a background check or pass a firearms safety course, are designed to ensure only that those bearing arms in the jurisdiction are, in fact, ‘law-abiding, responsible citizens.’”

This carve-out for “shall-issue” regimes was likely the result of a compromise done to mitigate political backlash and shore up support among justices. It remains unclear how “shall issue” permitting laws really fare when closely examined under the text and historical tradition test articulated later in the ruling.

Nevertheless, the American people currently are broadly in favor of that compromise. A November 2022 poll from Marquette University’s law school found that 64 percent of U.S. adults favor the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling. Similarly, a separate Marquette poll found that 62 percent favor allowing the concealed carry of handguns with a permit or license required. Conversely, permitless carry laws routinely poll poorly despite their continued success in red states.

But that equilibrium, in which Americans broadly favor both concealed carry rights and licensing laws, could ultimately become upended if more and more states continue to make lawful carry all but impossible. If push comes to shove and one has to go, it’s more than likely that the American people (and the Supreme Court, which has tended to act only after public opinion on guns has shifted) will choose licensing laws.

The recent experience in North Carolina is a perfect example of this. For years, gun-rights advocates favored repealing the state’s permit-to-purchase law for handguns, but to no avail. Meanwhile, at least nationally, the policy continued to poll favorably among the public. However, following the COVID pandemic and a series of scandals involving local sheriffs delaying permit applications, enough political momentum was finally there to get the repeal bill through the legislature. Two years later, with improved majorities, Republican lawmakers were able to get the repeal into law after overriding a veto.

Legal rulings striking down many of these likely unconstitutional Bruen replacement laws may arrive before sentiment shifts enough to make a difference. But litigation often takes many years, and the Supreme Court has thus far shown an unwillingness to intervene in New York’s law despite its restrictions being the first enacted and arguably the most burdensome. Therefore, relief from the courts might not be in the offing for some time.

As permitless carry approaches a political wall in the near future, continued efforts by gun-control advocates to undermine workable permitting schemes elsewhere across the country risks shifting the Overton window toward more permissive gun-carry systems, whether among the general public or the courts.

Since gun-control advocates very much don’t want to see that happen, they may be forced in the near future to give up the push for restrictive “shall issue, may carry” licensing schemes.


No, the wilting flower, necklace clutching, editors should man up

Justice Should Be Mindful of Words

Given the range of concerns over the recently passed Campus Self-Defense Act, Gov. Jim Justice could have chosen his words more carefully as he signed the bill.

Justice said West Virginia is sending “the message, ‘By God, if you wanna mess with us, we can mess back.’”


Such language does nothing to settle the nerves of officials on the campuses of state institutions of higher learning, who are understandably thinking about the challenges such a law will present. The last thing we need is the governor firing off a politicized yee-haw to encourage people to “mess back,” in dangerous situations.

National Rifle Association state director Art Thomm was more delicate in celebrating the law.

“The Campus Self-Defense Act recognizes the fact that danger doesn’t disappear just because you’ve stepped onto campus grounds,” he said. “Now, those who choose to exercise the right will have the ability to protect themselves, their classmates, and their loved ones should they need.”

That is the kind of language calculated to ease fears, rather than increase them.

It’s no secret Justice is ramping up his effort to appeal to West Virginians as he aims for his next political office. Perhaps he should be more mindful of his responsibility to be above such stunts as he leads and serves those people, now.

Former Uvalde Police Chief: I Left the Gunman Unhindered to Continue Killing the Children He Held Hostage, So I Could “Evacuate” The Children Who Were In No Danger Whatsoever

The Uvalde police chief admitted he chose to leave the kids trapped with the gunman, even after hearing “a lot” of shots.

The Texas police chief blamed for the disastrous response to the Uvalde school shooting admitted making the “horrible” call not to rescue kids trapped with the gunman — even after hearing “a lot” of shots and the killer reloading.Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, who was later fired as Uvalde schools’ top cop, made the astonishing admission in his only briefing with investigators — a day after 19 kids and two teachers were slaughtered at Robb Elementary.

He smiled and made jokes during the nearly one-hour interview obtained by CNN, defending his decision to evacuate the rest of the school rather than those trapped with 18-year-old mass shooter Salvador Ramos.

He detailed being one of the first to arrive at the school, hearing too many gunshots to count.

CNN obtained the video of since-fired Uvalde schools police chief Pedro Arredondo speaking to investigators a day after 21 were killed.

“When I opened the [school] door, I saw the smoke,” he recalled, saying “shots started firing” again as he and a colleague started nearing the classroom where Ramos was holed up with kids and teachers.

“Obviously, I backed off and started taking cover,” the lead officer said, which CNN noted was in clear defiance of training that insists officers risk their own lives to “neutralize” active shooters.


He backed off even after hearing gunman Salvador Ramos shooting and reloading his weapon.”I know there’s probably victims in there and with the shots I heard, I know there’s probably somebody who’s going to be deceased,” he acknowledged of the room he backed away from.

But he felt the “priority” was the “preservation of life” of those not under the “immediate threat.”

Like himself, for example.

“Once I realized that was going on, my first thought is that we need to vacate” the rest of the school, he said, telling arriving officers that “we’re taking [other] kids out first.””I know this is horrible,” he said — claiming it was what “our training tells us to do,” seemingly contradicting the actual guidance.

Focusing on evacuating the children who were in no danger whatsoever just happened to also keep Arredondo and the other filthy cowards who gladly followed him out of danger as well.

But I’m sure that’s just one of those coincidences. I’m sure that never, ever occurred to them.

Eight Months Later, We Now Know the Reason the Uvalde Police Chief Didn’t Confront the Shooter

One of the worst domestic acts of violence in American history, the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, still horrifies us even all these months later. And part of the reason we continue to be horrified is that we still don’t know the full scope of the utter failures of law enforcement that took place that day.

Law enforcement on the scene ignored their training (or, worse, weren’t properly trained), leaving children and teachers trapped in classrooms with the killer. The fallout has been intense – firings from the top down, a town turned upside down, and even bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing another incident like it in the future.

CNN obtained the one and only interview then-police chief Pete Arredondo gave to the Texas Department of Public Safety, giving us a glimpse into his logic that day, and it only further shows how flawed and troubling his decisions were that day.

“Once I realized that was going on, my first thought is that we need to vacate. We have him contained – and I know this is horrible and I know it’s [what] our training tells us to do but – we have him contained, there’s probably going to be some deceased in there, but we don’t need any more from out here,” Arredondo said.

His decision to treat the gunman as a barricaded subject and not confront him effectively left all the students and teachers in Classrooms 111 and 112 for dead. It was one of many times he did not follow the training and protocol for an active shooter.

Arredondo stuck with that choice for over an hour, even when he thought he heard the gunman reloading and after it was confirmed children were trapped – injured and alive as well as dead – with the shooter.

It should come as no secret that his decision violated the training his department supposedly received, and it flies in the face of what we know should be the proper response. You can evacuate, but you have got to apprehend – or at least stop – the shooter in that situation before it becomes an even deadlier situation. And because Arredondo decided against proper protocol there, the result was as infuriating as it was tragic.

Records supplied to CNN by DPS show Arredondo took required active shooter training at least three times, including in the December before the massacre. The specific course he took then instructs officers to “isolate, distract and neutralize” the attacker. It reminds officers “First responders to the active shooter scene will usually be required to place themselves in harm’s way and display uncommon acts of courage to save the innocent.”

The decision-making that happened on May 24, 2022, was equal parts cowardly and ignorant, and Arredondo’s words, now that we can see them, verify that.

SCOTUS turns away bump stock, gun seizure cases

For the third time this year the Supreme Court has rejected a case dealing with the ATF’s administratively imposed ban on bump stocks, denying cert in a challenge to the ban brought by a group of federally licensed firearm retailers and several individuals who argued that the ban was an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause by forcing existing bump stock owners to destroy them without any kind of compensation on the part of the federal government.

Today’s decision follows the denial of two other challenges to the bump stock ban, which was imposed by the Trump administration following the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas in 2017. Previously, the ATF had determined that bump stocks should not be considered “machine guns” under federal law, given that even with bump stocks attached it took a pull of the trigger to release a single round.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a U.S. Justice Department agency, reversed a previous conclusion and classified bump stocks as machine guns under a 1934 U.S. law called the National Firearms Act. The policy took effect in 2019.

Two sets of plaintiffs filed lawsuits seeking compensation for having to destroy or surrender their bump stocks in the Court of Federal Claims, which hears monetary claims against the U.S. government. A judge dismissed the actions, finding the policy to be a lawful exercise of the federal government’s power to outlaw dangers to public health and safety.

“The Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld those decisions last year for a different reason, ruling that a property right in the devices was inherently limited given the existing federal prohibition on machine guns.

We don’t know why SCOTUS rejected these challenges, just that there weren’t four justices willing to accept any of these cases. And while the odds of any particular case being granted cert by the Court are low (about 1-in-10,000), gun owners are rightfully going to be concerned about the Court’s inaction, especially with the Biden administration using the Trump tactic to pursue administrative bans against unfinished frames and receivers, pistol stabilizing braces, and potentially even semi-automatic handguns and rifles.

Today’s decision doesn’t mean that these same justices will stand by and let future abuses of executive authority slide, but as long as SCOTUS doesn’t object the Biden administration is likely to take their silence as a green light for more rule-making of dubious constitutionality.

The other case turned away by the Supreme Court today dealt with the seizure of a New York man’s firearms; a case that the attorneys for Wayne Torcivia argued was virtually identical to a similar search and seizure that the Court ruled unconstitutional in Caniglia v. Strom

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Body Cam Footage: Uvalde Cops Complained They Were Afraid to Get Shot During Massacre

Newly leaked footage of Uvalde police officers shows a group of armed men covered in body armor expressing fear of getting “clapped out,” shot, or putting themselves in any danger whatsoever during the massacre at Robb Elementary School on May 24 during a massacre that saw 19 children and two teachers killed.

Local NBC News obtained the footage which featured the conversation between two unidentified Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers unable to figure out what to do or where to go at the school. One said, “Want to jump the f*cking gate or what?” to which the other replied “What is the safest way to do this? I’m not trying to get clapped out.”

JPMorgan Chase Closes Account of Religious Freedom Group, Demands Donor List: Report

JPMorgan Chase has reportedly closed the account of a religious freedom-focused non-profit group and demanded it hand over a list of its donors to secure the account’s reinstatement.

Former Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, the founder of the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF), told Fox News that the group’s account was closed with no explanation.

“We went into a Chase branch in the District of Columbia to open an account, no problem,” he said, per the outlet. “Then, several weeks later, I went to put another deposit in the account, and they said, ‘Your account has been canceled, we’ll be sending your money back to you.’“

A spokesperson for the bank said the bank did not close the account on the basis of the group’s political and social leanings. [Yeah Riiiight.]

“Of course, I’m not able to speak about confidential client matters. But what I can say is we have never and would never exit a client relationship due to their political or religious affiliation,” the spokesperson told the outlet.

Brownback, however, alleged that other groups had suffered similar treatment. “We’ve just heard of way too many groups and entities, particularly religious-associated ones, that have been canceled by their providers… And we want to start seeing some of these cases investigated.” His organization plans to appeal to state attorneys general to get involved,” he said.

The former lawmaker has requested that CEO Jamie Dimon explain the closure and address concerns that the firm may be closing accounts on the basis of faith or politics. “We are concerned that religious institutions, houses of worship, and people of all faiths are at risk of having their business, credit, or even personal or private bank accounts terminated for any or no reason at all,” he wrote, per the outlet.

The ‘Bump Stock’ Decision That Should Have Been But Wasn’t

Imagine this. An automobile manufacturer adds a turbocharger to the engine of a passenger car as a way to increase the vehicle’s acceleration. Nanny State bureaucrats at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decide that the turbocharger makes a vehicle to which it is attached go too fast, which renders it “unsafe.” The agency decides that the simplest way to address its concern is to include within the definition of an “automobile” a “turbocharger,” which the agency then can outlaw as an “unsafe motor vehicle.”

“Nonsense,” you say – a car “part” is not a “car,” right? Correct, yet that is precisely what the United States Department of Justice did in 2018 when it deemed by regulatory re-write, that an accessory that could be attached to a rifle to make it fire faster – a “bump stock” – was in fact and by law, a “machine gun” and therefore unlawful to be owned or possessed by individuals.

Thus, by regulatory fiat a piece of plastic, which is all a bump stock is, becomes a “machine gun” for purposes of federal law.

Despite the absurdity of this regulatory maneuver, the Supreme Court on Monday once again declined to hear arguments in cases challenging the constitutionality of the government’s bump stock redefinition.

The Court should have heard arguments in the case, to enable a majority of justices a way to declare such regulatory legerdemain is a constitutionally impermissible exercise of legislative power by the Executive Branch (aside from it being an example of absurd legal reasoning that no president should get away with).

While gun control advocates, including the Biden administration which had urged the Court not to hear the cases, characterize the issue as a “Second Amendment” case, it truly is not. At its core, the legal issues center on regulatory law, not Second Amendment law, and the repercussions extend far beyond firearms.

Like many of Uncle Sam’s bad decisions in recent decades, this one outlawing bump stocks was a knee-jerk reaction to a specific incident – the 2017 mass shooting by a crazed gunman from a hotel window in Las Vegas, Nevada. A number of bump stock-modified rifles were found in the murderer’s hotel room after police breached his barricaded door.

The publicity surrounding the Las Vegas shooting led to calls to change the law and ban the theretofore little-known, but legal, firearm accessory. Congress could not make a decision, so the responsibility fell to President Trump to show the American people he was “doing something.” That “something” was to order his then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to take executive action against the devices.

It eventually fell to Sessions’ successor, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, in late 2018 to actually amend the long-standing definition of a machine gun so as to include a bump stock within its terms. It is this presidential action – changing federal law by the “stroke of a [regulatory] pen” – that has set a dangerous precedent that should concern liberals and conservatives.

Allowed to stand, this precedent permits extensive presidential mischief that can be wrought by Republican and Democrat administrations alike, targeting all manner of activities and products regulated by the federal government, without having to go through the often messy and time-consuming congressional legislative process.

Thanks to this Trump-proposed regulatory maneuver, virtually any federal regulation – including those involving such wide-ranging issues as the environment, health care, banking, firearms, and even abortion, among hundreds more – can serve as the vehicle for a president to unilaterally enact substantive changes to federal laws.

Regardless of why the Supreme Court declined to accept this challenge to what is by every reasoned analysis an abuse of Executive Branch regulatory power, Big Government advocates will be left extremely happy by the decision. It leaves wide open a side door by which this and future administrations can run roughshod over the system of checks and balances so carefully crafted by our Founders, but which has been so often undermined by successive administrations of both major parties.