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NRA defeated as Supreme Court rejects challenge to Chicago suburb’s assault weapon ban

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge by gun rights activists to a Chicago suburb’s ordinance banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, handing a victory to gun control advocates amid a fierce debate over the nation’s firearms laws.

The 2013 ordinance passed by the city of Highland Park, Illinois will remain in place. By opting not to hear an appeal of a lower-court ruling that upheld the measure, the justices declined to take up what would have been a high-profile gun rights case following a succession of mass shootings including the one last week in San Bernardino, California.

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The Highland Park measure bans various semi-automatic weapons, including well-known guns such as the AR-15 and AK-47, in addition to magazines holding more than 10 rounds of bullets.

Two conservatives on the nine-member court, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, said the justices should have taken the case.

Thomas wrote a six-page dissent in which he said that despite recent pro-gun rights rulings by the conservative-leaning high court, several lower courts “have upheld categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes.”

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, but there is a longstanding legal debate over its scope.

Semi-automatic rifles are popular, with the vast majority of owners using them for lawful purposes, Thomas said. “Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons,” he said.

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‘A SECOND-CLASS RIGHT’

In April, the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the challenge to Highland Park’s ordinance. Thomas said the high court should have heard the appeal of that ruling in order to prevent that appeals court “from relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.”

The plaintiffs were gun owner Arie Friedman, a pediatrician, and the Illinois State Rifle Association. The National Rifle Association, the influential gun rights group, and 24 U.S. states urged the high court to hear the case.

The Supreme Court has not taken up a major gun case since 2010. In the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case, the court held for the first time that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms, but the ruling applied only to firearms kept in the home for self-defense. Two years later, in the case McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court held that the earlier ruling applied to the states.

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In defending the ban, Highland Park’s lawyers noted that it was enacted “following a series of tragic mass shootings across the nation” including the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in which 20 young pupils and six adults were killed.

They also pointed out that seven states, including California and New York, have similar laws on the books.

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A nationwide assault weapons ban law expired in 2004 when the bitterly divided U.S. Congress failed to renew it, with many Republicans opposing gun control measures. The federal law had barred the manufacture and sale of semi-automatic guns with military-style features as well as magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

In his speech to the nation on Sunday night, President Barack Obama noted that the husband-and-wife shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino had stockpiled assault weapons and ammunition. Obama called for new limits on assault weapons.


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Maxine Waters calls for Trump’s Cabinet initiate the 25th Amendment ‘before this would-be dictator takes us all down’

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for Donald Trump to be removed from office on Friday.

"Is there one brave member of Trump’s cabinet who would move to initiate the 25th Amendment to remove him from office?" Waters asked on the president's favorite social networking platform.

The 25th Amendment would allow Vice President Mike Pence to ascend to the presidency if a majority of Trump's cabinet declares "the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

"Now is the time to save our country before this would-be dictator takes us all down!" Waters warned.

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Manhattan DA announces protesters arrested by NYPD will not be charged: ‘Our office has a moral imperative’

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The Manhattan District Attorney announced on Friday that his office would not be prosecuting protesters arrested for low-level crimes.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. announced that Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct would not be prosecuted during the demonstrations over police violence.

"“The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve. Days after the killing of George Floyd, our nation and our city are at a crossroads in our continuing endeavor to confront racism and systemic injustice wherever it exists. Our office has a moral imperative to enact public policies which assure all New Yorkers that in our justice system and our society, black lives matter and police violence is a crime. We commend the thousands of our fellow New Yorkers who have peacefully assembled to demand these achievable aims, and our door is open to any New Yorker who wishes to be heard," Vance said in a statement.

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Chicago Police Board president files complaint alleging he was struck 5 times by cops at George Floyd protest

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On Friday, WTTW reported that Ghian Foreman, the president of the Chicago Police Board, has filed a complaint alleging he was beaten in the legs five times by police officers at a protest against the killing of George Floyd last Sunday.

The Chicago Police Board is an independent civilian commission that has power over police disciplinary cases.

"Foreman filed a complaint with the Citizens Office of Police Accountability alleging that he was struck by at least one officer during a protest sparked by the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, said Ephraim Eaddy, a spokesperson for the agency," said the report. "Foreman’s complaint, which identifies the officer Foreman said struck him, is one of 344 complaints of police misconduct filed with COPA between midnight May 29 and 7 a.m. Friday, Eaddy said. The complaint itself is confidential."

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