Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Appellate Court Upholds Chicago Handgun Ban

In a surprising decision, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Chicago's ordinance banning handguns and automatic weapons within city limits. Chicago's ban had been challenged by the National Rifle Association. The NRA sued Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois, one day after the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C. The handgun ban struck down in Heller was substantially the same as Chicago's ban. The court upheld Chicago's ban by reasoning that the Heller decision did not apply to states and municipalities. The Appellate Court differentiated the Heller case from Chicago's ban by stating that "Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government, while Chicago and Oak Park are subordinate bodies of a state." The NRA's lawsuit was initially dismissed by the trial court on December 4, 2008 by following a 1982 appeals court ruling upholding a ban on handguns by the Village of Morton Grove. The ruling in this case was released only one week after oral arguments were held. The NRA has vowed to appeal this to the United States Supreme Court.

The case is National Rifle Association of America v. City of Chicago, 08-4241.

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