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Another Chicago gun ordinance bites the dust

Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014

* 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.”

Judge Chang is a recent Obama appointee.

* The full opinion is here

(C)ertain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government’s reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment. This right must also include the right to acquire a firearm, although that acquisition right is far from absolute: there are many long-standing restrictions on who may acquire firearms (for examples, felons and the mentally ill have long been banned) and there are many restrictions on the sales of arms (for example, licensing requirements for commercial sales).

But Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms, and at the same time the evidence does not support that the complete ban sufficiently furthers the purposes that the ordinance tries to serve.

* Sun-Times

The judge was unmoved by the city’s efforts to prove that the gun sale ban disproportionately affected “parochial” gang members who might find it hard to cross rival gang boundaries to travel to the suburbs, where many guns used in crime are currently purchased.

Though nearly all illegally used guns were originally sold by licensed dealers, “guns used in crimes generally pass through several hands before being acquired by the ultimate perpetrator,” the judge wrote.

He suggested that “straw purchasers” who use their clean criminal backgrounds to buy guns for criminals can be tackled by “more focused approaches, such as law enforcement operations that target dealers who would sell to straw purchasers.”

Nothing in his ruling stops Chicago Police from enforcing gun laws, or “prevents the City from considering other regulations — short of the complete ban — on sales and transfers of firearms to minimize the access of criminals to firearms and to track the ownership of firearms,” Chang wrote.

* New York Times…

“The stark reality facing the city each year is thousands of shooting victims and hundreds of murders committed with a gun,” the judge, Edmond E. Chang, of Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, wrote. “But on the other side of this case is another feature of government: certain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government’s reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment.” […]

Several residents and an association of Illinois firearms retailers filed a lawsuit, leading to Judge Chang’s decision. “Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms,” the judge wrote, “and at the same time the evidence does not support that the complete ban sufficiently furthers the purposes that the ordinance tries to serve.”

Gun rights advocates said they hoped the ruling would send a message to Chicago and other cities setting similar limits. “Just because people live in Chicago doesn’t mean they’ve given up their rights,” said Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. Even with Chicago’s ban on sales, officials have long complained about the patchwork of laws that allowed guns to be obtained in neighboring states and suburbs.

* Tribune

Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said the financially powerful NRA has systematically fought to water down gun laws in Illinois and across the country.

“That’s the NRA’s game plan. They keep filing suits and filing suits to chip away laws and get to their ultimate goal of a complete armed citizenry,” he said.

Though the 7th Circuit Court has ruled favorably for the NRA in recent cases in Chicago and Illinois, Walsh said other federal appellate courts have not followed suit.

“All too often the narrative is that the NRA is this monolithic machine that is winning everywhere, but that really isn’t the case,” he said. “There has been the fear mongering by the NRA and gun manufacturers, but it does not necessarily translate.

* Meanwhile

About 4,500 requests for concealed carry permits were submitted the first day Illinois’ online application system was open to the public, officials said Monday.

The applications submitted Sunday during the system’s first 24 hours of operation brought the total permit requests to more than 11,000, said Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police. The other 6,500 applications came in recent weeks, as the state allowed firearms instructors to apply for permits early in order to help test the online application system. Detailed information on what areas of the state saw the most applicants wasn’t yet available, Bond said.

“Right now we’re pleased with the ease of the process so far,” she said. Bond called the number of applicants a “pretty healthy number.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


34 Comments
  1. - Ed - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    None of the newspapers stories I read about this decision mentioned there are several suburban municipalities that prohibit gun shop…are they affected by this ruling too?


  2. - Steve - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    How much money does Chicago want to waste in legal fees to appeal this???? Isn’t not like Chicago has the money considering their pension problem. Just a reminder when Rahm goes crying to the Illinois State Legislature before the next lame duck session about skipping another pension payment.


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    What is this, the 14th straight victory for the NRA?

    And will this even make a difference? Won’t the city just throw up arbitrary zoning and licensing roadblocks to prevent a store from ever opening up?


  4. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Ed - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    I don’t know. In the past, when Chicago lost a case, the burb’s have usually repealed their similar laws, sometimes without prompting or when threatened with a lawsuit.


  5. - formerpolitico - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Poorly reasoned opinion by a new, underqualified Judge with little real world experience.


  6. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    ==Poorly reasoned opinion by a new, underqualified Judge with little real world experience.==

    How so?


  7. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Most criminals do not patronize gun stores or obtain FOID cards. Criminals are certainly not going to apply for concealed carry permits (that requires being finger printed among many other things). They obtain guns on the black market (stolen or purchased illegally).

    The city lawsuit was a waste of money. The Bill of Rights applies to Chicago too.


  8. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    == How so? ==

    Because they disagree with it….

    Duh… :-)

    At the end of the day it seems Chicago’s argument is

    “Our citizens can’t be trusted to have gun sales in the city”


  9. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Long read. The opinion leaves the door pretty wide open to regulation short of a total ban.

    Given their track record, the city will mostly likely try more of that route. But if they continue to overreach (as they have in the past), sooner or later they could hit a PO’d judge who might order a retail sales license to be issued.


  10. - Anyone Remember? - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Demoralized

    Taken to its legal extreme, this opinion could be used to overrule state / local laws that affect religious beliefs (zoning, prohibition on certain activities, etc.). We have a constitutional right to purchase / consume / sell liquor (via the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th Amendment and invalidating the Volstead Act), yet local governments can restrict / prohibit the public consumption / sale of alcohol within their jurisdictions.


  11. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    @OneMan:

    Yeah. I know. I was just curious as to what a reasoned, qualified person’s opinion might look like and thought we could all be enlightened.


  12. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    @Anyone:

    I wasn’t aware there was a constitutional right to drink alcohol. As far as I know there isn’t.


  13. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    === Poorly reasoned opinion by a new, underqualified Judge with little real world experience. ===

    I’m quite sure @formerpolitico knows nothing about Chang’s qualifications to determine he is “under qualified.” Here, according to Wikipedia, are Chang’s credentials. I don’t know enough about federal Judicial resumes to know if he has the experience or not:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmond_E._Chang


  14. - Downstater - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    =Poorly reasoned opinion by a new, underqualified Judge with little real world experience=
    Sounds like someone is talking about the guy who appointed the judge. Obama!


  15. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    Reading the opinion was like a refresher course in recent gun control rulings. Whatever you think of the ruling, the judge did spend a lot of time citing recent precedent (Heller, McDonald, Moore, etc.) and, IMO, he doesn’t seem to be doing much of a reach, if any, in his current ruling. He also bent over backwards to the city, giving them a short automatic stay until they can get their act together with an appeal and stay request. Doesn’t read like an activist judge to me; reads more like a new judge who wants to make sure he got it right.


  16. - Smoggie - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    I’m hearing the City is going to end up paying the plaintiffs over $500,000 in legal fees.

    That’s on top of the cost of the City’s own counsel.

    And it is in addition to over $1.2 million in the McDonald case.

    Now, what would make the city more safe — a law outlawing gun shops, or the extra police officers that could be hired with the $2 million?

    It seems that somebody should have factored that in before this was passed.


  17. - Anyone Remember? - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Demoralized

    That right was created by the 21st Amendment’s repeals of the banning of that right.


  18. - Logic not emotion - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    RNUG: I agree.

    Smoggie: Good point. Supports my contention that it has always been about politics rather than actually making things better.

    FWIW: There is a new study out. Here is a link to it… http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/01/quinnipiac-study-restrictive-conceal-carry-laws-results-in-higher-murder-rates.html


  19. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===The other 6,500 applications came in recent weeks, as the state allowed firearms instructors to apply for permits early in order to help test the online application system.===

    An interesting figure given that there are only about 2000 state registered firearms instructors.

    ;-)


  20. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    @Demoralized

    I knew you knew, I was in a very snarky mood…


  21. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    @Anyone:

    The 21st Amendment did the following:

    1. Repeal the 18th Amendment
    2. Give states the right to set their own laws on alcohol.

    You don’t have a right to beer if your state says you don’t (or conversely allows your local government to say you don’t).

    These issues are even comparable.


  22. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    sorry. “aren’t” even comparable.


  23. - Anon - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    The 21st Amendment specifically recognizes state authority to regulate, while the 2nd Amendment does not.


  24. - Siriusly - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    Upon Further Review: ” Most criminals do not patronize gun stores or obtain FOID cards.”

    Really?
    - The gun used by the Sandy Hook murderer? Legally purchased and stored by his mother.
    - The gun purchased and used by the Virginia Tech murderer ? Legally purchased.
    - The guns, ammo and explosives used by the Aurora Colorodo murderer ? Legally purchased.

    This myth about “law abiding gun owners” vs “criminals” doesn’t make much sense. All of those guys were “law abiding” up until the moment when they murdered dozens of people.


  25. - Siriusly - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Colorado


  26. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    So, Siriusly, you are comparing 3 horrific incidents where guns were used to commit heinous crimes to the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of crimes committed in Chicago alone with guns acquired illegally? Just want to make sure.


  27. - Logic not emotion - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Siriusly: You’re citing exceptions, not the norm and the Sandy Hook example is not valid as the criminal did not legally purchase it. If you’ll bother to do the research, you’ll find that mass murderers are commonly the exceptions and account for very few of the total homicides. The gang members who commit many of the homicides don’t patronize gun stores or get their FOID cards and they won’t apply for CCW.


  28. - RSW - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    I applied for a concealed carry permit. The State Police application process on the web site is excellent. Job well done. First class job.


  29. - countyline - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    So Siriusly, we should treat everyone like a potential criminal, or just gun owners ? What about alcohol ? Do we need to run background checks before every alcohol purchase to prove you have no past DUI’s or charges of domestic abuse ?

    It’s attitudes like yours that shut down any possibility of reasonable conversation regarding guns with those of us you consider “gun nuts”, because being treated like a potential criminal is offensive to most people.


  30. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    @countyline:

    I don’t think a background check is treating you like a potential criminal, nor do I think it’s burdensome. I don’t know what your stance is and I absolutely hate the “gun nuts”/”gun grabbers” rhetoric. However, I would consider those who oppose background checks to be a bit on the extreme side.


  31. - What is to be done? - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 8:07 pm:

    Every single law the city of Chicago has laid down to block gun ownership has fallen in the courts. But the city will spend more millions to challange these rulings in the courts. $Millions of tax dollars will go to “selected” law firms to fight our right to bear arms according to the US Constitution.


  32. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 10:25 pm:

    What is to be done? - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 8:07 pm:

    I agree Chicago will continue to spend money on lawyers. If you look around the country, Chicago is literally the last major stronghold left for the gun control groups … and they are losing it one ruling at a time. All the national groups will keep pouring what money they have left into the politicians there, fighting a rearguard action in hopes of holding the line. If the national control groups lose Chicago, they might as well fold up.

    Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but the only way I see Chicago changing for good on this issue will be when federal judges start imposing contempt of court jail sentences for ignoring the rulings … and if I was the judge, I’d probably overstep my authority and impose said sentence until such time as Chicago came into compliance.


  33. - William Place - Wednesday, Jan 8, 14 @ 12:34 am:

    I read in one report that a member of a gun control organization referred to Chicago as a “World class city”, this is like referring to Love Canal as a world class hazardous waste dump!


  34. - John - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    “Just because people live in Chicago doesn’t mean they’ve given up their rights,” said Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

    That’s a good joke, Pearson cares about people in Chicago. According to Otis McDonald’s book, An Act of Bravery, Peason is one of the people who recruited Otis for the Supreme Court case.

    Ironic for those who knew Pearson ten years ago, when ISRA wanted nothing to do with concealed carry. ISRA provided no financial or legal assistance to Roderick Pritchett, Chris Morley or John Horstman. Now that ISRA finds money in these lawsuits, they are suing left and right.

    The only time Pearson & ISRA care about Chicago people is when they are hunting for plaintiffs.


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