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NRA Lawsuits In Illinois And California Having Effect

Thursday, July 3, 2008

As we reported last week, in the wake of the historic Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms that is not limited to militia service, the NRA filed five lawsuits challenging local gun bans in San Francisco, and in Chicago and several of its suburbs. 

The San Francisco lawsuit challenges a local ordinance and lease provisions that prohibit possession of guns by residents of public housing in San Francisco.  NRA was joined in that suit by the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. 

The Chicago case challenges a handgun ban nearly identical to the law struck down in Washington, D.C.  The other Illinois suits challenge handgun bans in the suburban towns of Evanston, Morton Grove, and Oak Park. 

The suits are already having an effect. 

Although filed only last Friday, and not yet served on the city, the San Francisco suit--which addresses the total ban on firearms in San Francisco's Public Housing--has drawn sharp comments from city attorney Dennis Herrera.  Lost in his public rant was any mention that NRA's claims that the Second Amendment precludes a ban as imposed on public housing residents is incorrect or that all the information in NRA's complaint was based on materials and statements provided by the city itself. 

NRA will continue to press its suit in whatever form necessary to insure that San Francisco's most vulnerable residents do not have to choose between a roof over their head or their Second Amendment rights. 

On the same day NRA filed against San Francisco, suits were also filed in Illinois against Chicago, Morton Grove (the first city in the country to outlaw handguns), Oak Park and Evanston's various handgun bans.  Suit was also prepared for Wilmette but has not yet been filed due to an announcement by the town that they were suspending enforcement of the ban and would consider repeal.  Since then the Village of Morton Grove has also indicated its willingness to repeal its ban short of litigation. 

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. is trying to run with its own interpretation of the recent ruling.  Despite the Supreme Court's clear and unqualified statements--that D.C.'s "handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of 'arms' that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for [self-defense]" and that "Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights" the ban "would fail constitutional muster," and that individuals have the right to possess "all instruments that constitute bearable arms"--D.C. officials are saying they intend to continue banning all semi-automatic handguns, characterizing them erroneously as "machineguns." 

NRA will press forward until full repeals are obtained, either voluntarily, legislatively or through the courts.  Litigation is neither cheap, fast, nor easy, but this is the first round in a war gun owners must win while the court remains favorable to a common sense understanding of the Second Amendment.
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