United States District Judge Edmond E. Chang ruled on Monday that Chicago’s ban on firearm sales within the city limits was unconstitutional. According to CNN, Chang said that the city government is obligated to protect constitutional rights such as the Second Amendment, which the ordnance violates.
“The stark reality facing the city each year is thousands of shooting victims and hundreds of murders committed with a gun. 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,” Chang wrote. “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 temporarily stayed the effects of his ruling so that the city may have time to appeal the decision. Reuters reported that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is disappointed with the judge’s decision, and city leaders are currently considering their options.
The city of Chicago has a long history of being tough on guns, and legislators fought to keep the city from joining the rest of the state when the Illinois legislature passed a historic concealed carry bill last year. Illinois was the last state in the country to begin allowing citizens to legally carry concealed weapons. Last September, Chicago’s city council voted to end a 45-year-old gun registry, but firearm sales and transactions within the city boundaries were still forbidden.
Gun control supporters in Chicago maintain that tougher regulations on firearms would lower crime, despite holding one of the highest homicide rates of any American city.
Chang’s decision was a result of a lawsuit by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and a number of independent gun owners. The National Rifle Association (NRA) also applauded the judge’s decision.
“Today’s ruling is a vindication of the constitutional freedoms of Chicago’s law-abiding citizens,” Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. “Chicago’s continued refusal to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s clear directive in its landmark ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago is unacceptable, and the NRA will continue to challenge the City until it fully respects the right of its law-abiding residents to keep and bear arms.”
Second Amendment advocates call the ruling a positive step forward for the city.