Lawsuit filed against Chicago's new gun laws
Wednesday, July 7, 2010; 3:26 PM
CHICAGO -- Four Chicago residents and a gun sellers group have sued the city over a tough new gun control ordinance put in place after the U.S. Supreme Court made a decades-old firearms ban unenforceable.
The federal lawsuit claims the new ordinance, which city officials say is the strictest in the country, infringes on residents' constitutional right to bear arms. The plaintiffs want the measure declared "null and void" and the city barred from enforcing it.
Gun rights supporters had predicted a flood of lawsuits after aldermen unanimously approved the ordinance Friday, four days after the Supreme Court ruled Americans have the right to have handguns anywhere for self-defense.
The high court ruling made the city's 28-year-old ban on firearms unenforceable. City officials responded with the new ordinance, which bans gun shops in Chicago and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or in their garages, with a handgun.
The city's law department defended the ordinance Wednesday, saying the Supreme Court's rulings recognized that some restrictions on the possession of firearms are appropriate.
"We believe that Chicago's ordinance is a reasonable attempt to balance the right of individuals to possess handguns in the home for self-defense with the substantial risks to public safety that are associated with the proliferation of firearms," the law department said in a statement.
The lawsuit's plaintiffs include a trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, an educator who lives near a high-crime neighborhood, a veterinarian who owns an animal clinic and her husband, who's self-employed in the aircraft restoration business. All four say they need guns for protection.
Three already own firearms, and one, the trader who has three young children, says he would if the city allowed it.
The Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers, a Carbondale-based nonprofit, also is a plaintiff in the suit filed Tuesday that names the city and Mayor Richard Daley as defendants.