Breaking: Federal judge strikes down Chicago's ban on handgun sales

Fun fact: The judge, Edmond Chang, is an Obama appointee.

Courts have been slapping Chicago around on guns for years now. In 2010, after issuing the landmark Heller decision finding an individual right to bear arms in the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court followed up by striking down Chicago’s gun ban. The issue in that case was whether the right to bear arms was so fundamental that it should also shield citizens from state bans just as it shielded Heller from a ban in the federal District of Columbia. Answer: Yep. So Chicago went back to the drawing board, redrafting its ordinance to allow lawful possession of guns inside the home but banning gun sales inside the city. Was that enough to evade Heller?


U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang wrote in a 35-page opinion that “Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms . . .”

City of Chicago attorneys argued that it needed to ban the sale of handguns within the city because it wanted to restrict criminals’ access to licensed dealers; restrict gun acquisition in the illegal market; and eliminate gun shops, which are dangerous in themselves and cannot be properly regulated.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit — a combination of Chicago residents and an association of Illinois firearms retailers — argued that if they have the right to have a handgun within city limits — as courts have ruled — then they have a right to buy one within the city.

That argument carried the day with the judge.

The city argued that pushing gun sales outside of Chicago would make things harder for gang members. Chang’s surprising reply:


Sensible, which is precisely why it’s surprising coming from an Obama appointee on this issue. Elsewhere the city argued that banning gun sales would help reduce gun crime. Chang’s even more surprising reply: The cops have other means of doing that, like, say … stop-and-frisk.


How this guy made it onto O’s judicial shortlist, I’ll never know. Maybe there’s a “three cheers for late-term abortion” opinion lurking somewhere in his background. This opinion’s part of a general trend against Chicago gun laws, though, and not all of it is coming from the courts. A few months ago the state legislature made Illinois the last state in the country to legalize concealed carry, forcing Chicago to re-write its gun ordinance yet again to accommodate the practice. The same law also made the city end its registry of gun owners. Now it’ll have to allow sales, per Chang’s opinion. We’ll see what happens to crime stats next year, but three years after the SCOTUS decision that invalidated Chicago’s gun ban, the city posted its lowest homicide rate since the mid-60s. Hmmmm.