WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused for now to block a new Illinois law that bans assault weapons like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which has been used in multiple mass shootings.

The decision in a brief unsigned order means the Illinois law enacted in the wake of the July 4 shooting in the city of Highland Park last year that killed seven people will remain in effect as long as legal challenges continue. In a separate case, a federal judge blocked the law, but the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. on hold.

In January, the Supreme Court refused to block new gun restrictions in New York. The two decisions taken together indicate that justices are willing to give lower courts time to consider the impact of last summer’s Supreme Court ruling that dramatically expanded gun rights. United Nationsunder the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The appeals court also expedited consideration of five different cases challenging the new law. The Illinois Supreme Court is considering a similar case.

A local gun ordinance in Naperville, Illinois, that prohibits assault weapons will also remain in effect as a result of the Supreme Court action.

Dudley Brown, president of the National Gun Rights Association, one of the groups involved in the challenge, predicted that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the issue.

“Commonly owned guns are protected by the Second Amendment and their prohibition has to end,” he said.

State law, enacted in January, prohibits what the state defines as «assault weapons,» including the AR-15 rifle, as well as high-capacity magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition for a long gun or more than 15. rounds of ammunition for pistols.

The law does not prohibit any pistol. It does not affect people who already own the firearms covered by the ban.

“States and cities should have the right to stop these weapons of war from decimating our communities. We don’t have to live in fear of the gun industry, and we stand with Illinois and Naperville in their fight,” said Kris Brown, president of the Brady gun control group.

Gun rights activists, including Robert Bevis, a Naperville gun store owner, filed a lawsuit to block the local ordinance and state law, saying the measures violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Last year’s Supreme Court ruling has sparked a new wave of legislation in Democratic-leaning states, even as the United States continues to be dogged by regular mass shootings.

Illinois is one of 10 states that ban what gun control advocates call assault weapons, several of which have been enacted in the past year.

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