Leaders of the Second Amendment Foundation, currently attending the 39th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show are celebrating another victory over gun laws in the City of Chicago.
There is no small amount of irony in this victory as Barack Obama, who claims Chicago as his hometown, leaves office. Obama has strongly advocated for gun control, which — at least in Chicago’s case — has been a losing proposition in the courts.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a zoning provision, reversing an earlier ruling that upheld “distancing” restrictions for gun ranges, and reversed an earlier ruling that upheld certain age restrictions for Chicago gun ranges.
Writing for the court, Judge Diane S. Sykes observed, “To justify these barriers, the City raised only speculative claims of harm to public health and safety. That’s not nearly enough to survive the heightened scrutiny that applies to burdens on Second Amendment rights.”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb issued a bristling statement that essentially challenged Chicago officials to put an end to the “nonsense.” Gottlieb is also chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
“The extremes to which the city has gone in an attempt to narrow its compliance with the Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago can only be described as incredible stubbornness,” Gottlieb said. “In the 6½ years since the high court ruling in our McDonald case, the city has had ample opportunity to modify its regulations. Instead, Chicago has resisted reasonableness.”
Despite restrictive gun laws, the Windy City last year nearly doubled the number of homicides reported in 2015. Last year, 762 people were murdered in the city, and the carnage continued over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
Attorney Alan Gura, who represented SAF in this case, noted, “The city failed to submit any evidence in support of its wild claims about gun ranges, and indeed, the city’s witnesses admitted the laws were irrational.
“The result should not have been surprising,” he continued. “Chicago’s police and government ranges do not spontaneously combust, spew toxic waste, or cause crime, and neither do the countless indoor gun ranges that safely serve the public throughout other American cities.”
In 2010, Gura argued the McDonald case before the Supreme Court. That SAF case resulted in a landmark victory that essentially nullified Chicago’s long-standing handgun ban, but more importantly, incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment.
The case is known as “Ezell II” for its lead plaintiff, Rhonda Ezell. Gottlieb noted that the victory was especially important for her.
“The ruling is a victory for citizens of Chicago who want to exercise their rights,” Gottlieb said, “and particularly for Rhonda Ezell, who has been steadfast in her resolve.”