7/06/2011

7th Circuit Appeals Court strikes down Chicago ban on gun ranges within the city limits

This major decision says that the 2nd Amendment should be treated like the Freedom of the Press in the 1st Amendment. This is really a major decision. It also clearly says that gun rights are protected outside the home just as they are in the home. A copy of the Court's decision is available here. Regarding Chicago's claim that people could go to gun ranges in other jurisdictions, the court ruled:

It’s hard to imagine anyone suggesting that Chicago may prohibit the exercise of a free‐ speech or religious‐liberty right within its borders on the rationale that those rights may be freely enjoyed in the suburbs. That sort of argument should be no less unimaginable in the Second Amendment context. . . .

the Court quoted at length from the “massively popular 1868 Treatise on Constitutional Limitations” by judge and professor Thomas Cooley: “[T]o bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them . . . ; it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order.” 554 U.S. at 616, 617‐18 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also id. at 619 (“ ‘No doubt, a citizen who keeps a gun or pistol under judicious precautions, practices in safe places the use of it, and in due time teaches his sons to do the same, exercises his individual right.’” . . .

we can distill this First Amendment doctrine and extrapolate a few general principles to the Second Amendment context. First, a severe burden on the core Second Amendment right of armed self‐defense will require an extremely strong public‐interest justification and a close fit between the government’s means and its end. Second, laws restricting activity lying closer to the margins of the Second Amendment right, laws that merely regulate rather than restrict, and modest burdens on the right may be more easily justified. How much more easily depends on the relative severity of the burden and its proximity to the core of the right. . . .


After the decision, the City of Chicago changed its law, but it is my understanding that it will still have trouble with this new law. From the Peoria Journal Star:

Chicago's City Council has swiftly approved allowing gun ranges to set up shop on the same day a federal court ruled the city can't ban the ranges.

The council approved the Mayor Rahm Emanuel-backed ordinance Wednesday because they anticipated the ruling by the federal appellate court in Chicago would be coming. The court struck down a provision of the city's gun ordinance banning the ranges.

Chicago has long fought to ban gun ownership outright. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city's handgun ban last year. Then-Mayor Richard Daley pushed through an ordinance that required gun owners to receive firing range training but prohibited ranges in the city. . . .


Thanks to Tony Troglio for this last link.

UPDATE: There is some fallout from this Circuit Court decision.

Capitalizing on its federal appeals court victory Wednesday in Ezell v. City of Chicago, the Second Amendment Foundation today moved for a preliminary injunction against the State of Illinois to prevent further enforcement of that state's prohibitions on firearms carry in public by law-abiding citizens.
The motion was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Springfield. Joining SAF in this motion are Illinois Carry and four private citizens, Michael Moore, Charles Hooks, Peggy Fechter and Jon Maier. The underlying case is known as Moore v. Madigan.
Illinois is the only state in the nation with such prohibitions. The state neither allows open carry or concealed carry, which runs afoul of recent U.S. Supreme Court Second Amendment rulings, including last year's landmark ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, another SAF case. SAF was represented in McDonald and Ezell by attorney Alan Gura, who noted after yesterday's appeals court win – forcing a temporary injunction against the city's ban on gun ranges that the city immediately changed after the decision was announced – that "Even Chicago politicians must respect the people's fundamental civil rights…Gun rights are coming to Chicago. The only question is how much the city's intransigence will cost taxpayers along the way."
"Now that the Seventh Circuit has recognized that the deprivation of the right of armed self-defense is an inherently irreparable injury, it is clear that Illinois' law-abiding gun owners are entitled to a protective injunction," said attorney David Jensen of New York, who, along with Glen Ellyn, IL attorney David Sigale, is representing SAF and the other plaintiffs. . . .

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