Justice Thomas, in dissent, registers powerful support for the AR-15, America’s favorite gun

by WorldTribune Staff, July 3, 2024 Contract With Our Readers

There is no doubt that AR-15-style rifles are covered under the Second Amendment, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said.

In a brief dissent related to a ban on the “assault weapon” enacted by the state of Illinois, Thomas said that the overwhelming popularity of the AR-15, coupled with its non-military operation, makes it a clear fit under the Second Amendment.

AR-15. / Creative Commons / CC By SA 3.0

Thomas was airing his thoughts on the firearm in a dissent to the Supreme Court’s refusal to weigh in on the Illinois ban. The top court said it wanted the appeals court to finish its work before jumping in.

In February 2023, the Illinois State Rifle Association challenged Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ban. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petitioners’ request for a preliminary injunction, saying the AR-15 is not protected by the Second Amendment.

Thomas wrote: “If the Seventh Circuit ultimately allows Illinois to ban America’s most common civilian rifle, we can — and should — review that decision once the cases reach a final judgment. The Court must not permit ‘the Seventh Circuit [to] relegat[e] the Second Amendment to a second-class right.’ ”

The AR-15 has become the most popular rifle in America, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which said that 28.1 million AR-15-style firearms are in circulation.

Yet most in legacy media continue to insist that the AR-15 is a military-grade automatic weapon. It is not. It fires just like many other rifles and handguns in semi-automatic and uses a magazine to hold cartridges.

Thomas made a point of emphasizing that AR-15s sold in sporting stores and gun shops are not military-grade.

“The Seventh Circuit’s decision illustrates why this Court must provide more guidance on which weapons the Second Amendment covers. By contorting what little guidance our precedents provide, the Seventh Circuit concluded that the Second Amendment does not protect ‘militaristic’ weapons. It then tautologically defined ‘militaristic’ weapons as those ‘that may be reserved for military use.’ The Seventh Circuit’s contrived ‘non-militaristic’ limitation on the Arms protected by the Second Amendment seems unmoored from both text and history.”

Thomas said he looks forward to the case reaching the Supreme Court so that it can produce a list of what is allowed under the Second Amendment.

“This Court must provide more guidance on which weapons the Second Amendment covers,” Thomas said.

His comments come as Team Biden has stepped up its assault on the popular “modern sporting rifle.” Joe Biden was behind the 1994 ban and has been itching to reinstate it since the law died in 2004.

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