BELLEVUE, WA – Following Thursday’s (5-4) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that a municipal gun ban violates that right, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed a federal lawsuit (complaint) challenging the City of Chicago’s long-standing handgun ban.
“Chicago’s handgun ban has failed to stop violent crime,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb stated. “It’s time to give the Constitution a chance.”
In addition to SAF and ISRA, plaintiffs include Chicago residents Otis McDonald, a retiree who has been working with police to rid his neighborhood of drug dealers, and who wants to have a handgun at his home; Adam Orlov, a former Evanston police officer; software engineer David Lawson and his wife, Colleen, a hypnotherapist, whose home has been targeted by burglars. Attorney Alan Gura, who argued the District of Columbia challenge before the high court, and Chicago area attorney David G. Sigale, represent the plaintiffs.
“Our goal,” Gura said “is to require state and local officials to respect our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Chicago’s handgun ban, and some of its gun registration requirements, are clearly unconstitutional.”
“The right to defend our homes and families against those who would do them harm, whether a random criminal, violent ex-domestic partner, or other wrongdoer, is one of the principles upon which America was founded,” Sigale said. “It is time the City of Chicago trust its honest, law-abiding residents with this Constitutional right.”
“The city has been denying gun owners their civil rights for a long time and I think this lawsuit could have a profound effect on their registration law,” ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson added.
Under the gun law currently in place, firearms must be re-registered annually.
“Each time,” Gura said, “a tax is imposed, forms must be filled out, photographs submitted. A person who owns more than one gun will find herself or himself constantly in the process of registering each gun as it comes due for expiration. If registration is to be required, once is enough.”
He further noted that Chicago’s bizarre requirement that guns be registered before they are acquired often times makes registration impossible. The penalty for failure to comply with the registration scheme is that a gun not re-registered on time can never be registered again. Gura likened it to a requirement to dispose of a car if it is not re-registered on time with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.