Wednesday, June 03, 2009

2nd Amendment Watch: Appellate Court Uphold Chicago's Gun Ban

A U.S. Court of Appeals panel voted today to upheld Chicago's gun laws in a ruling today against an NRA court challenge.

Chicago's law is one of the strictest in the country, banning handguns, concealed weapons and automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the hands of private citizens.

The unanimous three-judge panel ruled today that a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year, which recognized an individual right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, didn’t apply to states and municipalities.

“The Supreme Court has rebuffed requests to apply the second amendment to the states,” U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote, upholding lower court decisions last year to throw out suits against Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Illinois.

The Fairfax, Virginia-based NRA sued the municipalities in June 2008, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller struck down a hand-gun ban in the U.S. capital district encompassing Washington.

“We clearly disagree with the court’s conclusion,” NRA attorney William N. Howard, a partner in Chicago’s Freeborn & Peters LLP, said in a telephone interview. “The next step will be an appeal to the Supreme Court.”

In Heller, the high court struck down Washington’s 32-year- old gun law, which barred most residents of the city from owning handguns and required that all legal firearms be kept unloaded and either disassembled or under trigger lock. Six residents had challenged the law, saying they wanted firearms available in their homes for self-defense.

“Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government,” Easterbrook wrote, “while Chicago and Oak Park are subordinate bodies of a state.”

This seems to be specious legal reasoning to me. The Constitution specifically states that any matters not covered by it were to be left to the states. That obviously does not include the Second Amendment. If the Constitution is indeed the law of the land, it would seem to me that it would supersede state and municipal laws. Based on the judge's way of thinking, Los Angeles or Detroit could legalize slavery or coin their own money without running afoul of the feds.

We'll see what develops...stay tuned.

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