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Several Diverse Coalitions File Amicus Briefs in Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Supporting NRA Lawsuit in Illinois

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fairfax, Va. -- Today, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Independence Institute on behalf of a coalition of law enforcement organizations, Institute for Justice, the Constitutional Accountability Center on behalf of constitutional law professors, and 70 state legislators from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of National Rifle Association’s (NRA) appeal of the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park’s unconstitutional bans on handguns.

NRA filed an appeal to the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of National Rifle Association, et al v. City of Chicago, et al, maintaining that the individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment upheld in the Heller decision applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.

“In the historic Heller decision, the Supreme Court determined that every law-abiding American has the right to protect themselves with a firearm in their own homes,” said NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox. “It is unfortunate there are still jurisdictions that reject that basic right in direct violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

Within hours of the Heller decision, NRA filed suit against the City of Chicago and several suburban jurisdictions around Chicago aimed at striking down their handgun bans by incorporation of the Second Amendment to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The Village of Morton Grove and Winnetka repealed bans in their entirety and NRA’s challenges were dropped. The Village of Wilmette repealed its ban before the suit was filed. The lawsuit against the City of Evanston is still pending.

U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur, Northern District of Illinois declined to decide whether the individual right to keep and bear arms recognized by the Supreme Court in Heller applies to states and localities. He defaulted the decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled adversely in 1982 in the case of Quilici v. Morton Grove.

“NRA is committed to seeing this case all the way to the United States Supreme Court if that is what it takes to uphold the constitutional freedoms of law abiding residents in Illinois and across America. It is beyond unreasonable to deny lawful residents the use a firearm to protect themselves and their loved ones in their own homes,” added Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist.

-NRA-

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.