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Chicago ban on gun sales unconstitutional, says judge

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A federal district court judge ruled Monday that the City of Chicago’s ban on firearm sales is unconstitutional, a ruling made possible by three court victories attained by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.

U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang’s 35-page opinion cites rulings in SAF cases including McDonald v. City of Chicago, Moore v. Madigan and Ezell v. City of Chicago that paved the way for the lawsuit and his decision. SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb learned of the ruling Monday afternoon and, while this was not a SAF case, indicated that he was pleased SAF court cases apparently paved the way.

The lawsuit leading to Monday's ruling was brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and three private citizens, Kenneth Pacholski, Kathryn Tyler and Michael Hall.

The Chicago Sun-Times provided an on-line file of the ruling here, noting that the city’s attorneys argued unconvincingly that the city “needed to ban the sale of handguns within the city because it wanted to restrict criminals’ access to licensed dealers; restrict gun acquisition in the illegal market; and eliminate gun shops, which are dangerous in themselves and cannot be properly regulated.”

But Judge Chang noted in his ruling, “this rationale for banning gun sales and transfers is insufficient to justify the ban, because relatively few criminals buy guns from legitimate retail dealers and the ban’s burdens fall even more harshly on Chicagoans who want to legitimately own guns for self-defense.”

Elsewhere, Judge Chang also observed, “whatever burdens the City hopes to impose on criminal users also falls squarely on law-abiding residents who want to exercise their Second Amendment right. What’s more, it is doubtful that keeping criminal users away from legitimate retail stores will choke the supply of guns to those users. According to a survey of convicted felons proffered by the City itself, ‘(l)egitimate firearms retailers play a minor and unimportant role as direct sources of the criminal handgun supply’.”

Judge Chang stayed the ruling to give the city a chance to file a motion for a delay in the judgment until the appeals process has run its course.

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