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.