SAF Scores Appeals Court Victory Over Chicago Range Ban

After the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision struck down Chicago’s handgun ban, former Mayor Daley and his city council enacted a suite of sour grapes gun restrictions. Their stated goal: to make it as difficult as possible for a city resident to legally possess a firearm. The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed Ezell v City of Chicago, claiming that one of the new provisions—a blanket ban against gun ranges within the city limits—was an obvious end-run around the Supreme Court’s clear intent. And then, suddenly, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel rammed through an ordinance allowing gun ranges in Chicago. Within an extensive list of strictly defined limitations, of course. And no wonder . . .

Barak Obama’s foul-mouthed former Chief of Staff had most likely heard from his lawyers that Chicago’s attempt to thumb its nose at the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision was about to be crushed like a Cubs fan’s world series dreams. And so it was.

After losing in two lower courts, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today gave the SAF a resounding victory [read the decision here], overturning virtually all of the lower courts’ rulings. Here’s a tasty sample:

The City’s firing‐range ban is not merely regulatory; it prohibits the “law‐abiding, responsible citizens” of Chicago from engaging in target practice in the controlled environment of a firing range. This is a serious encroachment on the right to maintain proficiency in firearm use, an important corollary to the meaningful exercise of the core right to possess firearms for self‐defense. That the City conditions gun possession on range training is an additional reason to closely scrutinize the range ban.

Ouch. Want some more? The city said, in effect, screw gun owners. If they want to shoot or get the required training, let ‘em go to a range in the ‘burbs.

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.

That’ll leave a mark.

But you can’t accuse the corrupticrats who run the city of being too dumb to wet a finger and hold it up in the wind to see what’s blowing their way. In an amazing coincidence, a City Council committee – also today – recommended passage of the ordinance legalizing run ranges. The new law is expected to receive full council approval tomorrow. It’s another Festivus miracle!

But hold on. As in all real estate transactions, location, location and location will be the three most important considerations.

The practice shooting venues could be built only in areas of Chicago zoned for manufacturing and would have to be more than 1,000 feet away from residential areas, schools, parks, liquor retailers, libraries, museums and hospitals.

That should leave about seven possible sites in the 234 square miles that make up the city. Look for another law suit coming down the pike. You have to crawl before you can run. Chicago’s will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into second amendment compliance. Thanks to the SAF, they’ll get there.

17 Responses to SAF Scores Appeals Court Victory Over Chicago Range Ban

  1. avatarDerek says:

    Is that a flare gun or a prop gun in the pic?

    • avatarChris Dumm says:

      It’s got to be a prop gun. They don’t allow flare guns in Chicago, after that kid almost burned down Westerberg High School when the flare gun went off in his locker.

      Didn’t they end up making a movie about that? You know, with Molly Ringwald?

  2. avatarirock350 says:

    As with most gun laws in the state of Illinois I think the restrictions against gun ownership in Chicago is ridiculous and over legislated. The only thing I can agree with them on is the restrictions of where ranges can be placed. 1,000 feet from residential areas, schools, parks, liquor retailers, libraries, museums and hospitals isn’t unreasonable. Only allowing ranges in manufacturing zones isn’t something I disagree with either, it allows for the possibility of firearms manufacturing facilities (like smiths) to be in the same area as the range. With this restriction and some careful planning Chicago could have its own firearms district or gun stores, ranges and manufactures all in one place.

    • avatarIndyEric says:

      “The only thing I can agree with them on is the restrictions of where ranges can be placed. 1,000 feet from residential areas, schools, parks, liquor retailers, libraries, museums and hospitals isn’t unreasonable.”

      Uh…? Dude. By placing those reasonable restrictions, you have all but made the entire city off limits.

      And no, I highly doubt a gun maker is going to move to Chicago…er Illinois.

    • avatarGiao Nguyen says:

      According to the same document, the federal government has ranges in the city without any of those restrictions.

  3. avatarNukemJim says:

    “1,000 feet from residential areas, schools, parks, liquor retailers, libraries, museums and hospitals isn’t unreasonable”

    You are not from Chicago are you?

    Chicago has 570 parks, 600 public schools (not to mention private schools), over 700 liquor stores etc….

    Lets turn this around and apply this rule to churches, that churches cannot be within 1,000 feet of “residential areas, schools, parks, liquor retailers, libraries, museums and hospitals” would that be acceptable to Father Pfleger? or the Supreme Court?

    NukemJim

    • avatarirock350 says:

      You are right I do not live in Chicago, I live in Houston, it’s larger both in square miles and populace density, but we have found a way to build ranges within the same restrictions that Chicago has. It is rare that a communion wafer travels the speed of sound and penetrates through a cathedral ceiling and lands in the neighboring park, but I am told that it does happen. I am sure within the next year or so they will limit the size and speed of communion wafers, and the amount that priests are able to hand out to the faithful.

  4. I am happy that the City of Chicago – first under Daley and now under Emanuel – keeps trying these stunts and shows law-abiding gun owners everywhere its true colors. This is also clear evidence of how the anti-gunners will do their worst to restrict legal gun ownership at every opportunity. The more that this city tries these tricks, the more there is to learn about the anti-gunners’ ways. In the long term, it is only the double whammy of sound legal judgments against this kind of deviousness by Chicago and of an economic boycott of the city that will force the anti-gunners to shut shop. Please support the Chicago boycott. Yes, I know that I sound like a scratched record when I say this, but nothing else will work. :)

  5. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I’ve never heard of a bullet going through a wall and hitting ANYTHING outside the building at any indoor range. What difference does it make if any of the businesses they want to include in the ban are near an indoor range, since they have nothing to fear. I think that a hospital would be a great neighbor since you wouldn’t have to travel to far if something went wrong.

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      I hate to quibble, but I used to shoot at a range in Amarillo. They specifically and emphatically stated in the membership materials that shooters can NOT shoot across lanes, and must set up targets to insure that all bullets will end up hitting the steel plate-armored backstop. The building walls were made of finest cinderblock, and it seems that some shooters had managed to shoot through the blocks on a number of occasions. No one was injured, but it gave the neighbors, shall we say, pause. Most ranges I’ve been to have a universal weak spot – their roofs. If you aimed high, you’d likely poke some holes in the roof, with no idea where your little chunk o’ lead might land.

      • avatarBob H says:

        One interesting way I have seen the issue handled is to require that the range be on the lowest floor of a building with the offices of the range or the gun shop in the floor above the range. Underground ranges are good too, but I believe the water table is too high for that in most of Chicago.

  6. avatarRalph says:

    Shitcago needs a law prohibiting its thieving politicians from running their smarmy mouths within 1000 feet of a church, school, liquor store, dwelling, hospital, museum, fire hydrant or human being.

  7. avatarBen Eli says:

    These restrictions are not about safety. The powers that be want to keep guns as far away as people as possible in order to create a cloud of mystique around firearm ownership. Don’t let a kid see a range going to school, he doesn’t ask mommy and daddy about it. Keep safe and legal gun ownership out of the eyes of the public, and vilifying guns becomes so much easier.
    My range is down the block from a high school, a church is directly behind it, and at least 100 residences are within 1 mile. Haven’t heard any complaints.

  8. avatarHunter S. says:

    Well I’m sure it won’t be long before Chicago releases its own regulations, safety requirements and building codes for these ranges. But I’m sure they will be fair and reasonable rules. *cough, cough*

    “There must at all times be two range officers on duty inside of the shooting range. At no time is there to be more than two people inside of a shooting range.

    Patrons will be not be allowed to load more than 5 cartridges into their weapon at any time. Magazine loading will only be allowed at the patron’s own residence and not inside of the shooting range or encompassing facility.

    Patron’s will be required to use state approved paper targets. Said targets will be comprised of 110% post consumer material. The city of Chicago will be the sole distributor of said targets.”

    Ad nauseam…

  9. avatarBob H says:

    I think the appeals court gave a broad hint to the city about acceptable restrictions in it’s decision. They quoted from the NRA’s guide for designing and operating a range. Let’s see if the city takes the hint.

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