Barely a week after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, NRA is supporting a new lawsuit—Benson v. City of Chicago—to enforce the court's decision. The suit, filed on July 6 against the city and its mayor, Richard Daley, is the first to challenge the city's new gun control ordinance passed on July 2 (please see related story from last week's Grassroots Alert here).
Just four days after the Court struck down the nearly 30 year-long handgun bans in the cities of Chicago and Oak Park, Chicago enacted one of the most restrictive anti-gun ordinances in the United States. Commenting on the scope of the new ordinance, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, the top attorney for the city, said, "We've gone farther than anyone else ever has."
The city's so-called "Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance" provisions include: a ban on all gun sales in the city; a ban on possession of firearms for self-defense outside the "home"—even on a patio or in an attached garage; a ban on having more than one assembled and operable firearm in the home; a provision that allows the Chicago police to arbitrarily ban "unsafe" handguns based on unlimited criteria; and a training requirement to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit. (However, range training would be impossible since it will now be unlawful to operate a shooting range within city limits.)
Challenging the provisions are a number of gun owners and would-be gun owners in Chicago, along with the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers—a trade association that includes members who would open gun stores and shooting ranges in the city, if not for the restrictive new law.
Commenting on the need for the lawsuit, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, "The Supreme Court has now said the Second Amendment is an individual freedom for all. And that must have meaning. This decision cannot lead to different measures of freedom, depending on what part of the country you live in. City by city, person by person, this decision must be more than a philosophical victory. An individual right is no right at all if individuals can't access it."
"The Supreme Court told Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago that it has to respect the Second Amendment. By enacting this ordinance, their response is 'Make Us'," added NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "The NRA will not rest until Chicago's law-abiding residents can exercise the same freedoms that our Founding Fathers intended all Americans to have."
Recent statements by Chicago officials reflect their contempt for the Supreme Court decision. Alderman Daniel Solis stated, "the decision made by the Supreme Court is not really in the best interests of our citizens." Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon denounced what she called the Court's "blatant… misreading of the law." And another city council member even went so far as to say, "We're here today because of their poor judgment."
Benson v. City of Chicago was filed by lead counsel Charles J. Cooper and his colleagues in the Washington, D.C. firm of Cooper & Kirk. One of the nation's premier litigation firms, Cooper & Kirk has represented NRA in major constitutional litigation for many years.