Acting in the aftermath of the San Bernardino mass shooting, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from gun owners who challenged a Chicago suburb's ban on assault weapons. Two conservative justices said they would have heard the case and struck down the ban. The Illinois State Rifle Association, one of the plaintiffs, indicated that it would keep challenging local gun restrictions. The court, though, left in place a lower court ruling that found that local governments have leeway in deciding how to regulate firearms. The federal appeals court in Chicago had upheld the city of Highland Park's 2013 law that bans semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.
In upholding the ban, Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for the court that there is a "substantial benefit" to the Highland Park ordinance if it makes the public feel less at risk from a mass shooting. Variations of the Bushmaster AR-15, one of the guns specifically banned by Highland Park, were used in the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, and the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. The appeal filed by Dr. Arie Friedman and the Illinois State Rifle Association argues that Highland Park has violated their constitutional rights by banning some of the most popular semi-automatic guns in the United States, as well as ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)