Judge rules Chicago ban on gun sales is unconstitutional

CHICAGO Mon Jan 6, 2014 6:54pm EST

A customer inspects a 9mm handgun at Rink's Gun and Sport in the Chicago, suburb of Lockport, Illinois in this June 26, 2008 file photograph. REUTERS/Frank Polich/Files

A customer inspects a 9mm handgun at Rink's Gun and Sport in the Chicago, suburb of Lockport, Illinois in this June 26, 2008 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Frank Polich/Files

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago ban on gun sales within the city, aimed at reducing gun violence, is unconstitutional because it goes too far in barring legal buyers and dealers from engaging in lawful purchases and sales, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang found that the U.S. Constitution's protection of the right to keep and bear arms must include the right to acquire them, within limits.

The judgment is stayed for now, to give Chicago, the nation's third largest city, a chance to respond. A spokesperson for the city was not immediately available for comment.

The decision comes as Chicago reported about 17 percent fewer murders in 2013 as the city flooded high-crime zones with police. The murder rate in the city was still higher in 2013 than in the larger cities of New York and Los Angeles.

The judge's ruling was in response to a lawsuit by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler)

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