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Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Holds NRA Entitled to Attorneys' Fees in Lawsuits Against Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals conclusively and forcefully held, without need for oral argument, that the National Rifle Association has the right to recover attorneys' fees in its lawsuits against the city of Chicago's and the village of Oak Park's unconstitutional gun bans. The court held that the NRA was a prevailing party in the case of National Rifle Association v. City of Chicago and Village of Oak Park.

"This is a Second Amendment victory and a civil rights victory. The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment prevailed against those who sought to deny the right to keep and bear arms in Chicago and Oak Park," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "The attempt to avoid paying the NRA's attorneys' fees was rightly found to be unjust by the Court."

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right to keep and bear arms for all Americans in the historic McDonald v. Chicago and NRA v. Chicago and Oak Park cases, it remanded them for the purpose of issuing an injunction against Chicago and Oak Park's unconstitutional gun ordinances.  Before that injunction was issued, however, the ordinances were repealed. The city and the village then argued that the NRA was not a prevailing party and should not be allowed to recover attorneys' fees.  The district court, which originally ruled against the NRA, agreed and denied the fee award.

Today's Seventh Circuit decision overturns that ruling, holding instead that the NRA is indeed a prevailing party and is entitled to receive reimbursement for attorneys' fees. The amount to be recovered will be established by the district court.

"This is a major victory for the NRA.  While we are grateful to recover our attorneys' fees, however, we remain steadfast in our belief that Chicago and Oak Park continue to circumvent the law of the land and deny their law-abiding residents the Second Amendment freedoms protected by the Constitution.  We will continue to fight those efforts until the Second Amendment is fully respected," concluded Cox.

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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.