Chicago Suburbs Repeal Their Handgun Bans


I just noticed this: Last week two Chicago suburbs, Morton Grove and Wilmette, repealed their handgun bans in response to D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Washington, D.C., handgun ban. After Heller, Second Amendment advocates sued Morton Grove, along with Chicago and two other suburbs, Evanston and Oak Park, over their handgun bans. Wilmette was not sued, apparently because it stopped enforcing its ban following the ruling.

Since the District of Columbia (which banned handguns in 1976) is a federal domain, Morton Grove was technically the first municipality in the country to do so. Its 1981 law was upheld in 1982 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which ruled that the Second Amendment does not apply to state and local governments. Even if it did, the 7th Circuit said, "the right to keep and bear arms exists only as it relates to protecting the public security." The court also concluded that Morton Grove's handgun ban did not violate Article I, Section 22 of the Illinois Constitution, which says, "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Wilmette, which banned handguns in 1989, was featured in Robert VerBruggen's 2005 reason story about Hale DeMar, a Wilmette resident who faced a gun charge after defending himself against a burglar. I noted the challenge to Chicago's handgun ban in a post-Heller column.