NRA Explore
APPEARS IN News

Chicago's Firearm Transfer Ban Falls to Second Amendment Ruling

Friday, January 10, 2014

Things are looking up for gun owners in Illinois.  On Monday, as some 4,500 concealed carry applications flooded the state's online portal on its first full day of operation, Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois issued a significant opinion that invalidated Chicago's ban on firearm sales and transfers within the city. The suit was brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and three individuals, with the backing of NRA. 

The Chicago transfer ban was part of a series of ordinances the city hastily enacted after its total ban on handgun possession was invalidated by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' 2010 opinion in McDonald v. Chicago.  Chicago's crusade to be the nation's most oppressive jurisdiction for gun owners has yielded other important victories for the Second Amendment.  These included the Seventh Circuit's holding in 2011's Ezell v. Chicago that Chicago's ban on discharge (notwithstanding its requirement that residents obtain live-fire training as a condition of owning a gun in the city) was unconstitutional. Other aspects of the city's wide-ranging gun control regime have been whittled down in response to litigation and the broad preemption provisions of Illinois' recently-enacted Firearm Concealed Carry Act (the result of yet another successful Second Amendment case in the Seventh Circuit, 2011's Shepard v. Madigan).  The transfer ban remained, however, a symbol of the same political denial and impudence that have ironically helped move the Second Amendment needle in the right direction through litigation time and again.

The ordinance at issue flatly stated: "no firearm may be sold, acquired or otherwise transferred within the city, except through inheritance of the firearm."  Chicago attempted to justify the ordinance by, among other things, pointing out that residents could obtain firearms outside the city's borders.  The city also insisted that the ordinance increased the "transaction costs" of the firearms trade, making the acquisition of firearms by criminals more expensive, time-consuming, and dangerous (because they would have to travel through high-crime areas infested by rival gangs to buy guns). Chicago additionally claimed gun stores "are dangerous in and of themselves and cannot be safely regulated."

The court called Chicago's argument that it could ban firearm sales, as long as guns were available elsewhere, "profoundly mistaken."  "Second Amendment rights," Judge Chang wrote, "must be guaranteed within a specified geographic unit--be it city or state."

The court also determined that the restriction had to pass a high level of scrutiny (although not quite "strict scrutiny"), because the type of regulation at issue was unknown to the framers of the Second Amendment and because it broadly prohibited even law-abiding Chicagoans from exercising an essential component of the rights protected by the Second Amendment--the acquisition of firearms.  Regarding Chicago's purported justification of increasing transaction costs, the court noted that the evidence showed few criminals actually purchase firearms directly from legitimate dealers. Thus, "residents who seek to legally buy a gun bear more of the share of the added transaction costs in time, effort, and danger than gang members or would-be criminals …."  The city, the court wrote, "cannot justify its ban on legitimate gun sales and transfers with overinclusive means that impact more law-abiding citizens than criminals."  

Examining another Chicago claim that the ban helped maintain the city's "low household gun-ownership rate," the court opined: "It is … doubtful that minimizing household gun ownership is, after Heller and McDonald, even a valid basis for gun regulation: possession of a gun for self-defense in the home is the core right protected by the Second Amendment, so trying to minimize the exercise of that right cannot be a valid basis for the sales-and-transfer ban."

Demonstrating the importance of proper scrutiny, the case was distinguishable from other recent opinions applying only "intermediate scrutiny" (for example, the recent opinion largely upholding New York's SAFE Act) by its insistence that the city do more than just produce "expert" opinions claiming the restrictions could inhibit crime. Rather, the court refused to ignore the effects the restrictions also had on law-abiding residents and legitimate activity.  According to Judge Chang: "If the City is concerned about reducing criminal access to firearms, either through legitimate retail transactions or via thefts from gun stores, it may enact more appropriately tailored measures."

Because Chicago does not otherwise regulate firearm sales, the court, on its own initiative, stayed the effect of its judgment so the city could decide whether to appeal the case or pursue legislative remedies through more narrowly-tailored regulation. The city was given until January 13 to request an additional stay.

Besides paving the way for lawful firearms commerce in Chicago, Judge Chang's decision also shows the possibilities of a court taking the Second Amendment seriously.  We will closely follow this case and continue to keep you informed of significant developments.

TRENDING NOW
Katie Couric is an Anti-Gun Fraud and Hypocrite

News  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Katie Couric is an Anti-Gun Fraud and Hypocrite

Google-search “Katie Couric, gun control, edited” and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Actually, you’ll see what most news organizations are talking about.

Ohio: NICS Compliant Standard Now Recognized for All Valid Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holders

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ohio: NICS Compliant Standard Now Recognized for All Valid Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holders

Yesterday, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that Ohioans who possess a valid concealed handgun license no longer have to submit themselves to additional background checks when purchasing firearms.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ...

North Carolina: Right to Hunt and Fish Legislation Introduced

Thursday, May 26, 2016

North Carolina: Right to Hunt and Fish Legislation Introduced

Yesterday, Senate Bill 889 was introduced in the North Carolina state senate.  S889 seeks to amend the North Carolina Constitution to affirm that it is a right of the public to hunt, fish and harvest ...

White House Gun Control Meeting - Let’s “Set the Table” for the New President

News  

Friday, May 27, 2016

White House Gun Control Meeting - Let’s “Set the Table” for the New President

Speaking at a May 24 “Gun Violence Prevention Convening” held at the White House with state and local government officials, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. appeared to concede that the window for further gun control measures ...

California: Anti-Gun Bills Sent to Assembly Suspense File Scheduled to be Heard Tomorrow, May 27

Thursday, May 26, 2016

California: Anti-Gun Bills Sent to Assembly Suspense File Scheduled to be Heard Tomorrow, May 27

On Friday May 27, the state Assembly Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to hear all the bills sent to the suspense file.  There are five anti-gun bills that greatly impact gun owners, sportsmen, and Second ...

California: Assembly Appropriations Committee Sends Several Anti-Guns Bills to the Assembly Floor

Friday, May 27, 2016

California: Assembly Appropriations Committee Sends Several Anti-Guns Bills to the Assembly Floor

On Friday, May 27, the state Assembly Committee on Appropriations passed four of the five anti-gun bills on a party-line vote. AB 1664, AB 1673, AB 1674 and AB 1695 will now join AB 2607  for ...

“Rap Back”: A New Federal Firearm Registry

News  

Friday, May 27, 2016

“Rap Back”: A New Federal Firearm Registry

As part of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification Program, the agency is implementing what it calls the “Rap Back” service.  “Rap Back” provides law enforcement agencies – at their request – ongoing alerts on specific ...

Sen. Schumer Introduces Gun Control Bill After Brady Campaign Tantrum

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sen. Schumer Introduces Gun Control Bill After Brady Campaign Tantrum

For the past several months, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross has been repeatedly telling anyone who will listen that support for gun control is at a “tipping point.” Gross’ theory suffered a blow this week as the Brady Campaign ...

New Jersey: Anti-Gun Legislation to be Heard in Assembly Committee, Your Help Needed

Friday, May 27, 2016

New Jersey: Anti-Gun Legislation to be Heard in Assembly Committee, Your Help Needed

On Thursday, June 2, the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee will hear Assembly Concurrent Resolution 175/Senate Concurrent Resolution 101.  Your NRA-ILA, along with Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJJRPC), vigorously supported New Jersey’s right ...

South Carolina: Time Running Out for South Carolina Right-to-Carry Recognition

Thursday, May 26, 2016

South Carolina: Time Running Out for South Carolina Right-to-Carry Recognition

The South Carolina Senate is set to adjourn next week, so there is little time left to act on  H. 3799.  While the bill is on the Special Order calendar, anti-gun state Senator Marlon Kimpson (D-42) is leading the charge ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.