BELLEVUE, WA – In a 3-0 ruling issued this morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has reversed a lower court ruling and ordered that court to issue a preliminary injunction against the City of Chicago on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation that prevents the city from banning gun ranges inside city limits.
Joining SAF in the original lawsuit were Action Target, Inc., the Illinois State Rifle Association and three Chicago residents, Rhonda Ezell, William Hespen and Joseph Brown. Their attempts to obtain a temporary restraining order against the gun range ban were twice rejected by the district court. The Appeals Court ruling is severely critical of the lower court’s ruling.
“This is a significant victory that could have strong implications well beyond the Chicago city limits,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The court is making it clear that cities cannot adopt firearms ordinances that are so deliberately restrictive that they make it impossible for citizens to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.”
Immediately after last year’s landmark SAF victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the city adopted a handgun ordinance that required special permits and mandated range training, but banned gun ranges inside city limits. The city argued that citizens could fulfill their training requirement by visiting a suburban range. In today’s ruling, written by Judge Diane S. Sykes, the Appeals Court observed, “It’s hard to imagine anyone suggesting that Chicago may prohibit the exercise of a free-speech or religious-liberty right within its borders on the rationale that those rights may be freely enjoyed in the suburbs. That sort of argument should be no less unimaginable in the Second Amendment context.” In a concurring opinion, Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner noted, “the city may not condition gun ownership for self-defense in the home on a prerequisite that the City renders impossible to fulfill within the city limits.”
“What the city tried to do, as the court ruling noted, was thumb its municipal nose at the Supreme Court’,” Gottlieb stated. “City governments, no matter how much they abhor the fundamental right of citizens to keep and bear arms, cannot use clever legal devices to prevent the exercise of that right. As Judge Rovner noted, the city must come to terms with that reality’.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.