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Chicago gun ban: Judge strikes down ban on weapon sales as unconstitutional

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A city-wide ordinance in Chicago that essentially banned all sales of firearms was struck down by a federal judge on Monday, reports CNN on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang scrapped a key component of Chicago's gun regulation, ruling that it was unconstitutional to prohibit licensed gun stores from operating in the city.

“The stark reality facing the city each year is thousands of shooting victims and hundreds of murders committed with a gun,” wrote Chang in his ruling. “But on the other side of this case is another feature of government: certain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government's reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment.”

The ruling is a victory for gun advocates who said that banning the sales of guns by licensed, credible dealers would not reduce gun violence.

“Chicago's ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms,” Chang said.

The previous regulation also banned individuals from privately transferring ownership of a firearm as a gift or through sale. That too has been lifted, as long as the recipient of the weapon is 18 years of age and recordation of the transfer is kept.

Don’t expect to see gun shops popping up in the city however – Chang purposely delayed the implementation of his ruling in order to allow the city time to appeal, which they plan on doing.

Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the city's Law Department, speaking on behalf of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the mayor “strongly disagrees” with the judge's decision and has instructed city attorneys “to consider all options to better regulate the sale of firearms within the city's borders.”

“Every year Chicago police recover more illegal guns than officers in any city in the country, a factor of lax federal laws as well as lax laws in Illinois and surrounding states related to straw purchasing and the transfer of guns,” Drew said. “We need stronger gun safety laws, not increased access to firearms within the city.”

Chicago had 500 gun homicides in 2012, more than any other city in the U.S. The highest homicide rate however belongs to Flint, Michigan, with one homicide for every 1,613 residents. Detroit is second, with one killing for every 1,832 residents.

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