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I just noticed this: Last week two Chicago suburbs, Morton Grove and Wilmette, repealed their handgun bans in response to D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Washington, D.C., handgun ban.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.

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  1. That’s certainly the preferred method.

  2. Since Kennesaw, GA based* their firearm law on Morton Grove’s law, I wonder if they are going to repeal theirs?

    *based in the exact opposite since, all non-excluded homeowners are required** to have a firearm in their home

    **You can ask for an exemption***

    ***Not that they enforece it anyway

  3. {Napoleon Dynamite}


    {/Napoleon Dynamite}

  4. 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.”

    What the hell?? Was this in the constitution at Statehood? How in the hell does this jive with the idea of the RKBA?

  5. Aaah, I see that indeed Illinois has had four constitutions. The original made assumptions that an individual would carry arms.

    To wit:

    ART. V.
    1. The militia of the State of Illinois shall consist of all free male able-bodied persons, negroes, mulattoes and Indians excepted, resident in the state, between the ages of 18 and 45 years, except such persons as now are, or hereafter may be, exempted by the laws of the United States or of this state, and shall be armed, equipped and trained as the general assembly may provide by law.
    2. No person or persons, conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to do militia duty in time of peace, provided such person or persons shall pay an equivalent for such exemption.

    In other words, you may be called up for militia service in a time of peace UNLESS you commonly carry arms (assumed to know how to use them) and pay a fee to be exempt. The rest of the Article talks of structure and training of the State Militia. This is the only mention of arms in the original text.

  6. Kwix,

    I think “conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms” means that they have some moral problem with doing so, not that they commonly do it.

    It is cool, though, that being a mulatto exempted you from militia service…

  7. 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.

    Washington DC repealed its handgun ban?

  8. Morton Grove banned Guns, and, Kennesaw, Georgia passed an ordinance requiring all Heads of Household to own and maintain a defensive weapon, open carry is encouraged (with an exception for Religious Scruples).

    Morton Grove (Tennesee or Kentucky) followed Kennesaws lead, in open defiance of the ninnies in Morton Grove, Illinois. There are currently about 10 Cities or small Towns across the United States that have joined them in an unequivocal “keep and bear arms” league.

  9. No problem, they’ll just replace the bans with excessive restrictions.

  10. **You can ask for an exemption***

    IIRC, the law was written to force everyone to have a gun, unless one didn’t want to. No exemption or request was needed if a homeowner did not want to have a gun.

    Me, I just want a sign at the entrance to my development to read, “Three homeowners are armed. You guess which one.”

  11. A slight tangent. What are the anti-gun types saying about the poor guy who had his head cut off on a greyhound bus this week? His attacker was large and armed with a “Rambo-like” knife, no one came to his aid.

  12. I’ve heard arguments that these repeals are purely a tactical exercise. They’re making themselves immune to gun-rights lawsuits so that gun-rights advocates in Illinois have to go after Chicago, which has a lot more money and lawyers to defend its ban. If Chicago’s is upheld, they’ll re-enact their bans; if Chicago’s is overturned, they’ll enact the strongest limits they think they can get away with under the new ruling.

  13. Illinois will fight ANY good gun laws until hell freezes over. I saw the writing on the wall and got out. In fact, the day Missouri passed Concealed Carry, I started severing ties with Illinois. Maybe we need to hire an army of muggers to target the local politicians, who might finally “get it” if they had to see crime up close and personal, and stop being elitist jerks for ten seconds.

  14. I live in Illinois and carry all the time it is my right so their.

  15. No city or township, with a history of violating the rights of its citizens, will give up as easily as it seems. Expect continuation of harsh laws and expect to jump through many hoops in order to exercise a right protected by the Constitution of the United States. Oppressors of civil rights do not freely give back rights that they know they may violate with impunity. In order to regain lost rights the citizens must stand up for themselves and show their outrage.

  16. The founders were very clear about it. Privately held guns are necessary to keep a check against government tyranny.

  17. It’s too bad it took so long(nearly 40 years) for this ban to be overturned by the US Supreme court and by the slimmest of margins at that. I find it amazing that the justices can sit in the same room while the arguments are being made and come up with such diametrically opposed opinions that are supposed to be based on the same constitution. If you read the arguments on Heller from opposite sides of the bench you would think their opinions are based on two different constitutions. Even though I believe in upholding the 2nd amendment, and am therefore please with the Heller ruling I find it hard to accept that some members of the US Supreme court base their ruling strictly on politics and totally ignore the arguments the lawyer(on both sides of the issue) work so hard to make. It also seems some of them ignore the US Constitution. If some of them didn’t ignore the lawyer arguments and the constitution how could they come up with such differing opinions? One would think their rejoinder would be at least to some extent congruous. Heller was not the only case where this has happened. Unfortunately it seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

  18. I assume Moran Grove will be offering job retraining and or relocation assistance to those who moved there based on it being safer to practice their trade.

  19. Article 1, section 22 deals with the rights a citizen of Il, Article V pertains to the Il militia. They are two distinct sections of the state constitution. It is important to note, however, that the state militia relies on armed citizens. There IS one big problem with Article 1, section 22. The right citizens right to keep and bear arms should NOT be subject to the “police power”. The people of Il should never have given that much authority to the police. Most other state constitutions do not have such a provision in their declaration of the citizens right to keep and bear arms.

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