January 9th, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Chicago Ban on Firearms Sales

Chicago second amendment sales gunEarlier this week, the U.S. District Court in Illinois declared the City of Chicago’s ban on the sale of firearms to be “unconstitutional under the Second Amendment”. The ruling was issued in a court case filed by Illinois firearms dealers and gun owners, challenging Chicago ordinances that ban virtually all sales and transfers of firearms inside Chicago city limits.

U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang held that the Second Amendment includes “the right to acquire a firearm, although that acquisition right is far from absolute[.] But Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms[.]”

Click this link to read full decision of U.S. District Court (Northern District of Illinois):
Illinois Assn. of Firearms Retailers et al vs. City of Chicago, et al. (Memorandum Opinion and Order)

[Chicago] Municipal Code § 8-20-100 and the City’s zoning ordinance (MCC § 17-16-0201), which ban gun sales and transfers other than inheritance, are declared unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The Court will enter judgment for Plaintiffs [Illinois Assn. of Firearms Retailers]. — Order by U.S. District Judge Hon. Edmond E. Chang.

Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel commented: “This is an important decision because the Court recognized that the lawful commerce in firearms, in which NSSF members are engaged, is protected by the Second Amendment.”

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July 5th, 2010

Lawyer Alan Gura Talks about Landmark Supreme Court Second Amendment Cases: McDonald v. Chicago, D.C. v. Heller

In McDonald v. Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the Second Amendment applies to State and Local goverment actions, not just to Federal laws and activities. In so ruling, the High Court established that State and municipal laws can be challenged on the grounds that they violate a citizen’s individual right to “keep and bear arms”.

This landmark decision was the focus of the July 4th edition of Gun Talk Radio, when host Tom Gresham interviewed Attorney Alan Gura, lead counsel for Otis McDonald and other plaintiffs. Gura was also the lawyer who successfully challenged the District of Columbia gun ban, in D.C. v. Heller.

If you missed the July 4th broadcast, you can still hear what Gura has to say about the Supreme Court rulings in the McDonald and Heller cases. Gun Talk Radio archives its past broadcasts. Just right click on the Podcast icon below and “Save As” to download an .mp3 file with the Alan Gura interview. This is a very thought-provoking interview. We strongly recommend you listen.

podcast guntalk
Guntalk 2010-07-04 Part A
Hour One – Guests Alan Gura, Attorney
and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-OK

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June 28th, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court ‘Incorporates’ Second Amendment to States in Challenge to Chicago Gun Ban

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the most important Second Amendment legal case since D.C. v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies to States and local governments. This will allow plaintiffs to proceed with their legal challenge to a Chicago law banning handgun possession. Justice Alito wrote the High Court’s 5-4 decision.

In making this ruling, the High Court held that the Second Amendment applies to actions of State and local governments under the incorporation doctrine derived from the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Thomas offered a well-reasoned concurring opinion arguing that the “Privileges and Immunities” Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment also demands that State and municipal governments not abridge citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

CLICK HERE to Read FULL TEXT of McDonald v. City of Chicago Decision

Now State and Municipal Laws Can Be Challenged on Second Amendment Grounds
In a decision written by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court ruled the individual right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies to states and local governments. The court split along ideological lines in voting 5 to 4 to support the right of individuals to own handguns for self protection. The Second Amendment now carries “full sway” over state and municipal actions, as do most of the other protections enumerated in the Bill of Rights. In applying the Second Amendment to state action, the Court followed a familiar blueprint under which other rights have been applied to the states by virtue of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The case before the Court, McDonald v. City of Chicago, was filed in 2008 a day after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller — in which the high court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment protects an “individual” right to keep and bear arms. The Heller decision, however, did not reach the question of whether the Second Amendment also applied to the states.

Immediately after Heller, several Chicago residents, including retired maintenance worker Otis McDonald, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s long-standing gun ban. The Chicago-based federal courts ruled that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states and local governments, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to decide the question it left unanswered in its Heller decision.

On hearing today’s decision, Plaintiff Otis McDonald thanked the Justices: “for having the courage to right a wrong, which has impacted many lives long ago and will protect lives for many years to come.”

Steve Sanetti, President of the NSSF, which filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of McDonald, added: “Today’s ruling is a victory for freedom and liberty. All law-abiding Americans, no matter whether they live in a big city like Chicago or in rural Wyoming, have the same Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Constitutional rights don’t stop at state or city borders. Cities like Chicago and New York and states like California must now respect the Second Amendment.”

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Credit: Thanks to German Salazar, Esq. for sourcing the text of the Supreme Court’s decision.

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March 2nd, 2010

After the Argument — Supreme Court Appears to Favor Extension of Second Amendment

SCOTUSLyle Denniston, reporter for the Scotus (Supreme Court of the United States) Blog, attended the oral argument in McDonald v. Chicago (Docket 08-1521) this morning. Analyzing the comments and questions of the Justices, Denniston concluded that the High Court is very likely to extend the Second Amendment to state and municipal actions, on the basis of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. However, the Justices were skeptical of the argument that “incorporation” of the Second Amendment was likewise mandated by the “privileges and immunities” section of the 14th Amendment.

CLICK HERE for transcript of Oral Argument
(PDF file, 77 pages, 342kb).

Denniston writes: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed poised to require state and local governments to obey the Second Amendment guarantee of a personal right to a gun, but with perhaps considerable authority to regulate that right. The dominant sentiment on the Court was to extend the Amendment beyond the federal level, based on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “due process,” since doing so through another part of the 14th Amendment would raise too many questions about what other rights might emerge.”

During the course of the oral argument, the Justices disagreed as to the scope of the Second Amendment — whether it should be limited to a “core right” of self-defense or whether it could be applied much more broadly in future cases. The Scotus Blog explained: “The liberal wing of the Court appeared to be making a determined effort to hold the expanded Amendment in check, but even the conservatives open to applying the Second Amendment to states, counties and cities seemed ready to concede some — but perhaps fewer — limitations. The eagerly awaited oral argument in McDonald, et al., v. Chicago, et al. found all members of the Court actively involved except the usually silent Justice Clarence Thomas. And, while no one said that the issue of “incorporating” the Second Amendment into the 14th Amendment had already been decided before the argument had even begun, the clear impression was that the Court majority was at least sentimentally in favor of that, with only the dimensions of the expansion to be worked out in this case and in a strong of likely precedents coming as time went on.”

We recommend that those interested in Second Amendment issues read the full Scotus Blog Entry, which includes detailed explanations of the key arguments, and analyses of how individual justices stand on the question of how the Second Amendment should be applied to the States — i.e. whether broadly or narrowly.

CLICK HERE to read SCOTUS BLOG re McDonald v. Chicago.

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March 2nd, 2010

High Court Hears "McDonald v. Chicago" Today

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in McDonald v. City of Chicago, a major Second Amendment case that will determine whether cities and states must honor the Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms, set forth in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It will be argued that the protections of the Second Amendment should extend to state and local government activity, based on the provisions of the 14th Amendment.

The key words from the 14th Amendment are “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . . ”

McDonald v. Chicago

You can consider McDonald v. City of Chicago as the sequel to the 2008 landmark case — the District of Columbia v. Heller — in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment is an “individual” right to keep and bear arms. The Court’s decision, however, applied only to areas regulated by the federal government, such as the District of Columbia. As a result the Heller decision inspired further legal attempts to clarify how the right to keep and bear arms applies to citizens nationwide.

After Heller, many lawsuits were filed to overturn municipal and state laws that prevented individuals from owning handguns. In Chicago, several residents brought suit challenging the city’s long-standing gun ban. These residents, among them 76-year-old Otis McDonald, wanted a handgun to protect themselves and their families. McDonald, interviewed by ABC News, lives in a crime-ridden neighborhood and wants a gun to defend himself in his home: “If I’ve got a gun, and if others have guns in their homes to protect themselves, then that’s one thing that police would have to worry about less.”

How broadly or narrowly the Second Amendment will be applied to state regulations is the key question in today’s hearing in McDonald v Chicago. Today, one hour has been set for oral arguments. Attorney Alan Gura, who won the Heller case, will argue for the petitioners Otis McDonald, et al. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement will argue for the NRA, which is also a party to the case. Chicago’s defense will take up the remainder of the time.

Final Decision is Months Away
Legal experts will attempt to predict how McDonald v. Chicago will be decided, based on the questions/comments of the Justices during oral argument. However, we will have to wait many months before the Supreme Court’s actual written ruling. In a case of this significance, we can expect a lengthy written opinion (with dissents), that may not be issued until summer 2010.

Report and Photo Courtesy NSSF

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February 11th, 2010

Supreme Court Case + Gun News on DownRange TV Podcast

Michael Bane, producer and host of the popular DownRange TV show on the Outdoor Channel, also creates a short video “podcast” each week. Michael’s weekly podcasts cover a variety of topics — product intros, major competitions, shooting tips, and gun industry news. This week (8 min, 30 sec into the video), Michael comments on the upcoming Supreme Court hearing in McDonald v. Chicago. That case will determine whether the landmark Second Amendment ruling in D.C. v. Heller shall be extended to state and local government actions. Bane also spotlights the FBI’s new 40sw AR15 carbines (from Rock River Arms) and the re-introduction of the classic Merwin-Hulbert revolver, now marketed as a compact CCW weapon. Notable Merwin-Hulbert design features included interchangeable barrels and auto-ejection of spent cartridges (when bbl assembly was unlocked).

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Details of Merwin Hulbert Revolver Design (NRA YouTube Video)

Merwin Hulbert

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October 2nd, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Chicago Gun Case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to hear McDonald v. Chicago (08-1521), a case challenging gun control laws in the city of Chicago. When it rules on this case, the High Court can be expected to refine and expand its landmark ruling in DC v. Heller. In Heller, the Supreme Court ruled, for the first time ever, that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution confers an individual right to “keep and bear arms”.

The key issue in McDonald v. Chicago is whether state, county, and city goverment actions can be challenged on the basis of the Second Amendment. The First Amendment and other provisions of the Bill of Rights have already been held to govern state and local laws, but this would be the first time the U.S. Supreme Court determines whether the Second Amendment applies to “state action” through the Due Process or Privileges and Immunities Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

U.S. Supreme Court

Legal analysts predict that the U.S. Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, will strike down (or modify) Chicago’s restrictive gun laws, holding that the Second Amendment applies to state and municipal laws under the Incorporation Doctine.

In the Newsweek.com Blog, Howard Fineman writes: “Now the court will take up the appeal of a case of a handgun ban in Chicago to clear things up [following DC v. Heller]. Expect another sweeping smackdown…. What that means in the case of guns is a full-scale legal assault on, and sweeping away of, many if not most existing regulations on their sale and possession of handguns, pistols, and rifles, at least initially. If the court decrees the use of the standard method of assessing limits on fundamental rights, it will require states and localities to show a ‘compelling state interest’ for the regulation they seek, and a narrowly, carefully-tailored statute to address it. It’s what the lawyers call ‘strict scrutiny’─and it will kill off laws by the score, at least at first.”

We think that Fineman exaggerates the potential effect of a pro-gun ruling in the McDonald v. Chicago case, but we certainly hope that a ‘strict scrutiny’ standard is established. That the High Court will impose ‘strict scrutiny’ is by no means certain, however.

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