US District Court Strikes Down Chicago’s Ban on Firearm Sales

On Monday US District Judge Edmond E. Chang struck down the City of Chicago’s long time ban on the sale and transfer of firearms within the city limits. Chang ruled that the city’s ordinances are unconstitutional and that residents of the Windy City have the right to keep and bear arms and to acquire firearms through lawful commerce.

This ruling comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling, which struck down the Chicago’s ban on owning handguns in the city limits and last year’s federal appeals court decision to allow Illinois residents to apply for concealed handgun licenses through a state licensing authority. Prior to the law Chicago residents had to apply for a permit through the local police chief.

Chang’s ruling contains 35 pages and while he acknowledged that the ban on firearm sales was instituted to protect people from violent crime, at the same time it was over reaching.

“That is one of the fundamental duties of government: to protect its citizens, 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.”

He further stated: “(The 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.”

The lawsuit that prompted this decision was filed by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers (ILAFR). The ILAFR was established under the direction of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), who stated the following in a press release issued on Wednesday, January 8:

“Even as this ordinance was doing nothing to reduce criminal activity, it was clearly infringing upon the rights of law-abiding citizens to have firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes, as was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald decisions. This federal court has not only recognized another aspect of constitutional protection for citizens, but in a sense it also recognized that lawful commerce itself is protected, which is an important determination for our industry.”

The National Rifle Association’s Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, echoed this sentiment stating: “Today’s ruling is a vindication of the constitutional freedoms of Chicago’s law-abiding citizens. Chicago’s continued refusal to follow the US Supreme Court’s clear directive in its landmark ruling in McDonald vs. City of Chicago is unacceptable, and the NRA will continue to challenge the City until it fully respects the right of its law-abiding residents to keep and bear arms.”

Judge Chang said he would temporarily stay the effects of his ruling, meaning the ordinances will stand while the city decides whether or not to appeal his decision.

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