Judge rules Chicago ban on gun sales is unconstitutional

CHICAGO Mon Jan 6, 2014 11:38pm 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 buyers and dealers from engaging in lawful 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 judge stayed the ruling, however, in order to give the nation's third-largest city a chance to respond. Chang said the city had until Monday to submit a motion to stay the ruling pending an appeal if it chooses to do so.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel "strongly disagrees" with the court's decision, according to a statement from the city, adding that he has instructed the city's lawyer to consider all options to better regulate the sale of firearms within the city's borders.

"Every year Chicago police recover more illegal guns than officers in any city in the country, a factor of lax federal laws as well as lax laws in Illinois and surrounding states related to straw purchasing and the transfer of guns," the statement said. "We need stronger gun safety laws, not increased access to firearms within the city."

Gun sales are allowed outside of Chicago, including in neighboring suburbs, and anti-gun activists have complained that criminals use "straw buyers" to buy guns outside of Chicago and bring them into the city.

The court 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.

Chuck Cooper, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, praised Judge Chang's decision in an email, saying it was a "careful, scholarly ruling upholding the Second Amendment claims in this case."

Also this month, a law allowing Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons takes effect. Illinois was the last state in the nation to allow residents to carry concealed weapons.

Mark Walsh, campaign director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said the court ruling wasn't a complete surprise, given other rulings against gun ordinances in recent years. In 2010, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago's ban on handgun ownership.

"Our concern is if a gunshop is opening, that they're a good citizen and are making sure people who shouldn't have guns don't get them," said Walsh.

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

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Comments (5)
Evo1 wrote:
When is Chicago going to stop wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money pushing their failed political agenda, just to lose these lawsuits over and over?

Their claim of trying to keep people safe is bogus, as both the CDC and the National Academy of Sciences, in separate independent reviews of the research literature on gun control both found that not one single legitimate study out of over 350 reviewed was able to show any reduction at all in any form of violent crime due to gun control laws, anywhere, ever. The CDC also issued its own report this last June in which they admitted that every single study done on the subject has shown that guns are used many times more often in self-defense than in crime, and that people who use guns to defend themselves are the single least likely group of violent crime victims to suffer death or injury, meaning that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens save far more lives than they take. Also, the US DOJ, in its report prepared by order of the White House right after Sandy Hook admitted that none of the proposed gun control legislation that was defeated last year would do anything to reduce violence in the US, and that even far stricter laws in place in the UK and Australia for the last 15+ years have not reduced any form of violent crime in either of those countries either. In other words, the three most credible sources: the CDC, the NAS, and the DOJ, have all repeatedly admitted that gun control doesn’t reduce violent crime at all, and that average private citizens do a better job of protecting themselves from violent crime when given access to guns than through any other means.

So not only is Chicago destined to continue to lose case after case as it drags its feet, each costing millions of dollars in legal fees, it is actually putting its citizens at greater risk for no other reason than to try to protect a political agenda completely unsupported by the government’s own best data.

Jan 06, 2014 11:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
FatherJames wrote:
…Chicago has one of the largest gang populations in the U.S. The vast majority carry firearms. A large % of those have felony records. This should raise a number of questions…

Jan 06, 2014 11:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Californian16 wrote:
Who cares that Rahm didn’t like the Judge’s ruling – but then Emanuel never liked the 2nd Amendment anyway ! He’s just a leftist, lib pol, Chicago style !! Good for Judge Chang !!!

Jan 06, 2014 11:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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