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Court Uphold Chicago's Handgun Ban

Via the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Chicago and Oak Park handgun bans by a 3-0 decision. The 7th Circuit said that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller that stripped D.C. of its handgun ban only applies to the federal government. Chicago enacted its handgun ban in 1982.

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) praised the ruling.

“The 7th Circuit arrived at the correct decision. This ruling saved lives,” said Thom Mannard, Executive Director of ICHV. “The debate over Chicago’s handgun ban is not an abstract legal argument, but about the right of governments to enact sensible policies to keep deadly guns out of our communities. It’s time that more judges, lawyers and legal scholars understood that these important decisions are more than just legal theories, but about preventing gun deaths and injuries.”

Gun violence prevention advocates expect the gun lobby to continue to press its case all the way to the Supreme Court. U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, joined by Circuit Court Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, said they were bound to follow the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling on the Second Amendment not applying to states. All three federal judges were GOP appointees.

The case is National Rifle Association of America v. City of Chicago, 08-4241, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).

“If Chicago’s handgun ban is ever overturned by the Supreme Court, it would open the floodgates to challenge every gun control measure in the country. Even more ominous, those facing criminal charges or even those convicted of gun violations could now challenge their status on Constitutional grounds,” said Chester Kulis, a retired federal law enforcement officer, attorney and current board member of ICHV.

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence said that the Court’s ruling made crystal clear that sensible gun laws are Constitutional. ICHV pressed state lawmakers to continue to pass stronger gun laws to save lives, such as requiring common sense background checks on all gun sales to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of drug dealers, gun traffickers, domestic abusers, and mentally unstable individuals.

Relative to the rest of the country, Illinois has enacted a host of gun violence prevention policies. Illinois mandates that residents apply for a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) to possess a firearm and ammunition. In addition, state law does not preempt local municipalities and communities to enact their own gun laws; and Illinois is one of only two states, along with Wisconsin, that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons in public.


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