Big Step Forward in Legal Battle Against Chicago Gun Ban Outside the Home

In 2010, shortly after the Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s handgun ban in the landmark case McDonald v. Chicago, city officials wasted no time in ramming through a comprehensive, draconian gun control ordinance.

Arguably, the thought process of Chicago’s anti-Second Amendment lawmakers was, “since we can no longer outright ban handguns, we need to pass legislation that makes it very difficult for city residents to own a firearm.”

The “Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance,” as it is known, includes the following provisions, a prohibition on all gun sales inside the City; a prohibition on possession of firearms for self-defense outside the “home” — even on a patio or in an attached garage; a prohibition on more than one assembled and operable firearm in the home; and a training requirement to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit. However, and as the NRA pointed out in its legal brief, range training would be impossible since it will now be unlawful to operate a shooting range inside city limits.

Following the passage of the ordinance, the City’s top attorney Mara Georges boasted, “We’ve gone farther than anyone else ever has.” 

Well, the NRA’s legal team quickly stepped in and backed a lawsuit that was already in the works challenging the new ordinance, Benson v. Chicago.  Again, just to help keep the timeline straight, this civil action was filed back in July 2010. 

Fast forward to this month, on Jan. 19, a federal judge presiding over the case allowed the plaintiffs to move forward with their challenge on a provision by provision basis after the city unsuccessfully argued that the carry prohibition was in accordance with Illinois state law. 

The Judge, Edmond E. Chang of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, said in his ruling that the carry provision within the ordinance was more strict than state law, “Illinois does allow people to possess and carry guns in their places of business, or in another person’s home,” he wrote.

This opened up the door for briefs to be filed on the remaining issues (gun sales within the city, only one assembled and operable firearm, etc.) between now and April. 

“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’,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist, back in 2010. “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.”

Admittedly, this more like a “step” forward rather than a “big step” forward, but it’s encouraging to see that progress is being made on this front and that the NRA is living up to its commitment.  We’ll keep you posted as this case continues to make its way through the courts.