Chicago Law Banning Handguns in City Upheld by Court
June 2 (Bloomberg) -- A Chicago ordinance banning handguns and automatic weapons within city limits was upheld by a U.S. Court of Appeals panel, which rejected a challenge by the National Rifle Association.
The unanimous three-judge panel ruled today that a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year, which recognized an individual right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, didn’t apply to states and municipalities.
“The Supreme Court has rebuffed requests to apply the second amendment to the states,” U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote, upholding lower court decisions last year to throw out suits against Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Illinois.
The Fairfax, Virginia-based NRA sued the municipalities in June 2008, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller struck down a hand-gun ban in the U.S. capital district encompassing Washington.
“We clearly disagree with the court’s conclusion,” NRA attorney William N. Howard, a partner in Chicago’s Freeborn & Peters LLP, said in a telephone interview. “The next step will be an appeal to the Supreme Court.”
“We recognize that this may not be the end of this litigation,” Jenny Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city of Chicago’s law department said, acknowledging the likelihood the NRA would seek further review. “We’re certainly prepared for that if this happens. We’re prepared to aggressively defend our ordinance.”
In Heller, the high court struck down Washington’s 32-year- old gun law, which barred most residents of the city from owning handguns and required that all legal firearms be kept unloaded and either disassembled or under trigger lock. Six residents had challenged the law, saying they wanted firearms available in their homes for self-defense.
“Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government,” Easterbrook wrote, “while Chicago and Oak Park are subordinate bodies of a state.”