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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Courts - Federal judge "scraps Chicago's ban on retail gun shops"

So reported Dahleen Glanton and Jason Meisner in the Chicago Tribune earlier this week. The story begins:

A federal judge on Monday stripped away a key element of Chicago's gun ordinance, ruling that it is unconstitutional to prohibit licensed gun stores from operating in the city.

U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang found that the city failed to convince him that banning the sale of guns by licensed dealers was necessary to reduce gun violence.

The ruling also would make it legal for individuals to transfer ownership of a firearm as a gift or through a private sale as long as the recipient was at least 18 and had a firearm owner's identification card.

Chicago, the last city to allow residents to have handguns in their homes, once had one of the strongest handgun crackdowns in the country, making it a primary target of the National Rifle Association.

Overturning the ban on retail gun stores and private gun sales was the last major hurdle gun rights groups faced in their hard-fought battle to dismantle Chicago's tough firearm prohibitions.

The latest court ruling in the long legal fight came one day after Illinois, the last state to approve a concealed carry law, began accepting applications from residents who want to carry concealed firearms in public.

But gun shops won't likely be showing up in Chicago any time soon, since Chang delayed his ruling from taking effect to allow the city time to appeal.

Here is the Jan. 6th NYT coverage by Monica Davey; it begins:
CHICAGO — This city’s ban on gun shops violates the Constitution, a federal judge ruled on Monday, dealing the latest setback to politicians here who had put in place some of the nation’s strictest limits on firearms.

“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.”

The judge stayed his ruling, giving the city a chance to appeal, and said it could still enact regulations on the sale and transfer of weapons if they did not amount to a complete ban.

The case is Benson v. City of Chicago, 10-cv-04184, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). Here is the opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 8, 2014 09:44 AM
Posted to Courts in general